In an era when many women were denied the right to work, Florence Knoll Basset made her mark as a fiery icon who was able to influence and change much of what we now call modern mid-century furniture.
Born in 1917 in Saginaw Michigan as Florence Schust, or “Shu,” as she was often referred to by close friends, she wasted no time in her youth and studied under some of the most influential designers of her time. A student of Mies van der Rohe and Eliel Saarinen, she graduated with a degree in architecture and thereafter worked in the offices of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer before meeting and working with her future husband Hans Knoll.
With confidence and vision, in 1943 she convinced Hans that she could help his furniture company succeed – even in the wartime economy – by designing and creating pieces that adhered to the new and developing principles of modernism – among them, a pact to create pieces that “represented design excellence, technological innovation and mass production.” A bold and risky move, she had the tenacity and talent to succeed with this idea, and went on to create some of the most iconic works of her time, many of which are still hailed and used in modern homes round the world today. Florence also knew the importance of collaborating with other artists, and worked with equally influential peers such as Harry Bertoia and Eero Saarinen.
Eventually, after a blossoming romance, she married Hans Knoll in 1946 and became his Director of Furniture Design, and fulltime business partner. Over the years, and after the passing of Hans in 1955, she became President of their company and continued to design some of the most respected pieces for both corporate and personal American life, such as the Florence Knoll Sofa, Florence Knoll Bench, Florence Knoll Lounge Chair among many others.
With clean and uncluttered lines, minimalist foundations and sleek yet comfortable geometrics, you can find her work in some of the most iconic interiors in the world, whether it be the Modern Museum of Art, or the interior of the famed CBS building in New York.
No stranger to challenges, Florence also made her mark as a four-time winner of the Museum of Modern Art’s “Good Designs” competitions. A pioneer in creating the archetype for a clean and minimalist work space, she found herself one of the only women steering the waters of high-stakes male-dominated business, and she did it with style, strength and grace. Still standing strong at 96 years old, Florence was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1992, and remains active to this day.
A ground breaker for women, designers and modernist visionaries, you can find reproductions of Florence Knoll’s best creations at Rove Concepts, in a variety of colors and fabrics. With every detail, seam and design aspect adhered to the original’s specifications to a tee, we are certain that you will find only the best quality with our inspired collection.