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Florence Knoll - Cowles Publication

Designer Spotlight: Florence Knoll


Design pioneer. Architect. Furniture Designer. Co-Founder of Knoll.

Florence Marguerite Knoll Bassett was a powerhouse that transformed Knoll from a small furniture company to an internationally recognized name.

In this special Designer Spotlight, we are going to shed light on three major contributions that Knoll made to the design world that continue to shape and define excellence in the industry today.

Setting the Standard

Florence Knoll championed the concept of interior design as being a professional skill, rather than a hobby. For most, this was a revolutionary idea. Previously, the person who selected the furnishings in an office space was not a dedicated person, but rather a “decorator” whom someone would hire. This was not seen any differently than someone who decorated the home – there was no separation or distinction between office space and home space.

Knoll rebelled against the notion that she was a “decorator,” and said the only thing she ever decorated was her home. Furnishing offices and places of work require more than an artistic eye, it requires a true understanding of space and the ways to maximize productivity and function through thoughtful design.

Revolutionizing the Modern Office

Believe it or not, one of Knoll’s biggest challenges during her career was convincing executives to adopt the modern office design that she represented. She was often met with pushback and resistance.

In order to overcome this, Knoll began presenting her designs as “paste-ups” – a small, representational plan of a space using fabric, wood, and other materials to represent furniture and other features. Even though they were constructed from cardboard – they were revolutionary. They allowed Knoll to explain the feel and function of an office interior in a way that made executives more at ease in adopting her modern designs.

Maintaining a Legacy of Excellence

Florence Knoll passed away on January 25, 2019, at the age of 101. Timeless designs, unsurpassed quality, and dedication to function are three reasons why Knoll continues to stand the test of time and is viewed as an iconic trendsetter that defined the modern office.

These are only a few reasons why Beaux-Arts Group is the exclusive Knoll dealer serving Central and West Florida. We believe in the same design principles, and the importance of marrying form, function, architecture and design in order to produce inspiring workspaces. To get started on creating your custom space, contact us today.