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Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll - later Knoll Bassett - is an American architect and furniture designer who studied under Mies van der Rohe and Eliel Saarinen. She graduated from the Kingswood School before studying at the famous Cranbrook Academy of Art (both institutions are located on the same campus in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan). She briefly worked with leaders of the Bauhaus movement, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Wallace K. Harrison. In 1938, Hans G. Knoll founded his furniture company by that name in New York. In 1943, Florence convinced Hans she could help bring in business to his company even in America's wartime economy by expanding into interior design by working with architects. With her architectural background and design flair, she succeeded. They married in 1946, she became a full business partner and together they founded Knoll Associates. A new furniture factory was established in Pennsylvania and dealers in Knoll's furniture were carefully added over the next several years. Florence Knoll felt architects should contribute their design ability to furniture as well. Some of these furniture designs would become design icons of the 20th century and have remained in the Knoll line for decades due to their timeless design. When Hans Knoll died in 1955, Florence Knoll took over operation of the company. Florence Knoll herself designed chairs, sofas, tables and casegoods during the 1950's, many of which remain in the Knoll line to this day.