Florence Knoll

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Florence Knoll By: Brooke Thompson

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Florence Knoll

Florence KnollBy: Brooke Thompson

1I Am Not a Decorator- Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll helped forge the new field of interior design and established a method and look for corporate interior design by addressing client needs and using signature furnishings.Shu

Florence Schust Shu Knoll Bassett: (1917-)Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan, USAOrphaned at 12, informally adopted by Saarinen family who ran Cranbrook Acadamy

Kingswood @ Cranbrook School

First school project-design a house:Plans Elevations 3-Dmodel Interior specifications

Education & Early Employment

Graduate degrees from the Cranbrook Academy in MichiganDegree in architecture from the Architectural Association in LondonStudied with Mies van der Rohe at the Armour Institute in ChicagoWorked in the architectural offices from Gropius and Breuer in Boston.

Florence & Hans Knoll

In 1946, Shu became a full business and design partner of the Hans G. Knoll Furniture CompanyMarried Hans Knoll, formed Knoll Associates 1955: Hans died in a tragic accident in Cuba on a business tripFlorence stepped into the role as President of Knoll International. Hans Knolls Office, NY, 1950Corporate Design Revolution

The 12 x 12 office was designed for Hans Knoll in 1950. The parallel or L-shaped plan made sense, and it saved square-footage. Helped convince corporate clients who were satisfied to move from the diagonal plan, with a solid desk in front and a table behind. Having the storage in a cabinet freed the design to become a conference table. Designs in many shapes--round, oval, boat-shaped, and oblong--according to the plan.

Knoll Planning Unit, KPU, Shu U

Internal department which worked with clients to identify their workplace needs and to develop interior architecture and furnishing solutions. The Planning Unit started because I was put in the position of designing both interiors and furniture, so I took it completely on in my own way.Approach is widely recognized as the model for todays planning process for corporate interior design.

KPU Process: Paste Ups

Presentation method using actual fabrics. Small swatches of fabrics and wood convey a feeling of the space. The general scale used was 1/4" but in special plans we worked in larger scale.

Defined new role of Interior Designers:

Hierarchy of architecture over interior design was bankrupt:The work of each differed only in the area of the building assigned, not in process or method. Among the first designers to unite a building's exterior aesthetic with its interior landscape and to pay homage to the work being done inside."

KPU: Nelson Rockefeller Project, 1946One of Knolls first early projectsFurniture was custom-made of fine woods and materials, but everything was low-key. Nelson had one request, and that was to keep his existing inkwell because he liked the pen. The problem was that it was made of some plastic like Bakelite and looked very out of place. I solved the problem by calling on my friend Isamu Noguchi to carve a cover for the offending inkwell, making a small sculpture of solid English oak. Everyone was happy with this unique piece.

KPU: Connecticut General Life Insurance Building, 1956

Conference Room at Connecticut General Life Insurance Building, Bloomfield, Conn. 1956KPU: Frank Stanton's office at CBS, 1964

Pedestal desk Mies van der Rohe Brno chairs for visitorsSketch of office

KPU: Heinz Research Center, Pittsburg & First National Bank of Miami. President's office, 1957

KPU: Knoll Showrooms: 1945-1960

The object was to maintain a Knoll identity with different solutions in interior architecture.

New York Showroom 1951

Chicago Showroom 1953

San Francisco Showroom 1954

Knoll Textiles1947

In 1947, Knoll opened a showroom devoted entirely to textilesThe New York Times described it as representing, half a dozen of the most talented designers of this country and Europe. The original collection was heavily influenced by mens suiting fabrics; Florence Knoll, despairing of the lack of good-quality upholstery materials, had looked toward the fashion industry to find mills that would produce innovative fabrics for Knoll furniture. Also represented in the early textiles collection were striking fabrics derived from the craft of weaving, adapted for the first time for mass-manufacture on machine looms.

Celebrated 60th anniversary in 2007

Knoll believed strongly that designers should be credited by name and paid royalties for their work, a tradition which continues at Knoll today

Knoll International Signature:Humanized modernism: combined spare forms with rich textures and vivid colors the trademark look of the office workplace in the 1950s and 1960s. Under her leadership, many of the modern masters created collections for Knoll. Including Eero Saarinen's Tulip chairs and pedestal tables, Isamu Noguchi's coffee table and Harry Bertoia's wire furniture.Knoll has exclusive rights to: the Barcelona, MR and Brno Collections by Mies van der Rohe and the Wassily Chair by Breuer.Began manufacturing classics to the exacting specifications of the original designs.

Florence Knoll Pieces: In Production

Knoll stated that she designed the fill-in pieces that were complimented by the lines sculptural chairs

Florence Knoll Credenza, 1961Florence Knoll Bench, 1954Seating, 1954Low table, 1954

Knoll Buyout

FK with Andrew Willson, President of Art MetalArt Metal purchased Knoll International in 1960Knoll stayed on as a a consultant. In 1965, she withdrew from the industry completely, leaving Knoll it in the hands of those she had trained and inspired.

Knoll Exhibit at the Louvre 1972

In its March 1957 issues, Architectural Forum magazine affirmed: "The Knoll interior is as much a symbol of modern architecture as Tiffany glass was a symbol of the architecture of Art Nouveau." For her extraordinary contributions to architecture and design, Florence Knoll was accorded the National Endowment for the Arts' prestigious 2002 National Medal of Arts.

"Florence Knoll: Defining Modern," to be held Feb. 23-April 14 2010Dorothy W. and C. Lawson Reed, Jr. Gallery, located on the 5000 level of University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

Florence Knoll stated affirmatively that Good design is good business, a credo that remains the companys anthem today.