Florence Knoll ever thought of furniture design with the widely mind. For her it was important to see how the piece fits into the design of the room, on the floor and in the building. Every detail combined with the overall design and complements the existing architecture . Proof of this is her famous sofa.
Florence Knoll designed furniture only when she need some piece for a work and it didn’t exist. She never saw herself as a designer of furniture, her desire for harmony and consistency with space led her to create some of the most iconic pieces, always simple but not flat, such as the sofa with one, two or three bodies with inner frame in solid wood and metal outer and tubular steel legs in chromed or polished finish.
While skyscrapers grew in America during the postwar boom, Florence Knoll she interpreted her job as moving the vocabulary and the rationality of the modern exterior to the interior space of the corporate offices. Unlike other designers, her designs have architectural foundation, not sculptural. She decreases the rhythm and details of modern architecture while she humanized it through color and texture. Her living collection, designed in 1954 and notably for her famous sofa is a perfect example of her approach to contained and geometric furniture, clearly derived from her favorite mentor, Mies van der Rohe.
Florence Knoll and her sofa, architecture furniture
Florence Knoll was a pioneer of the Knoll Planning Unit radically revolutionizing the interior space planning in the 50s. The designer believed in total design covering architecture, manufacturing, interior design, textiles and graphic, advertising and presentation . This along with her application of the principles of design in solving space problems were her most adopted contributions and they are widely used even now. Her most famous work is her sofa. She was awarded with the prestigious National Medal of Arts in 2002 for her outstanding contribution to architecture and design.
Florence Knoll grew up in Michigan, she showed a rapid interest in architecture and she studied at Kingswood School where she made friends with Eliel Saarinen and his family with whom she traveled to Finland. Later, she studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and she developed connections and skills which would be the basis of her training in design her pioneering career. Florence studied with some of the best architects of the 20th century, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
In 1941 Florence Knoll moved to New York where she met Hans Knoll who was founding a furniture company. With Florence’s ability in design and the businessman who was Hans, the couple married in 1946 and led the company to an international level in terms of style and design. Florence proposed contributions with her friends Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, and Mies van der Rohe. His contributions to Knoll and to the rise of modernism in America are immeasurable, thanks in part to her famous sofa.