The Radical Interiors of Florence and Hans Knoll

The Radical Interiors of Florence and Hans Knoll

When we think of today’s modern design, our vision and concept of the idea wouldn’t have been possible without Knoll Furniture. Founded in the 1930s by the husband and wife team of Florence and Hans Knoll, their belief in the Bauhaus design philosophy formed what we know as the modern style. As the style and industry of furniture and interior design have continued to change, the popularity and iconic status of modern furniture and design continue to grow, thanks to the innovation and dedication of Florence and Hans Knoll. Follow along with Joshua Kodner Galleries.

Brought Together Through a Furniture Company

Florence and Hans were both born in the 1910s, although thousands of miles apart. Hans was born in 1914 in Germany, while Florence was born in 1917 in Michigan. Hans developed an interest in modern furniture production thanks to his father, who worked in the industry in Germany. By 1938, Hans had moved to New York and decided to start his own furniture company called Knoll Furniture.

At the same time, Florence entered the world of architecture and interior design. By 1941, Florence had worked closely alongside leaders of the Bauhaus movement—a type of German art school that combined both design and aesthetics with function. Two years later, Florence moved to New York and got a job as a designer at Knoll Furniture. Florence and Hans’ chemistry was a success in more ways than one and were married by 1946.

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The Transformation of Interior Design

Being a woman, Florence Knoll was forcibly pushed into the design by male peers, which ended up being an advantage. Thanks to her Bauhaus education and previous experience, Florence transformed interior decoration into spatial architecture and essentially birthed modern furniture and design as we know it. Knoll Furniture showrooms became the blueprint for the modern office space, incorporating an open-plan design, as well as polished and unique furniture. Florence’s evident talents in design and Hans’ charisma made the company a massive success, as well as their belief that furniture should complement your workspace, not complicate it.

The passion of the Knolls changed interior design and modernism as we know it. What was once considered a hobby and non-professional in the world of interior design, changed after Florence Knoll joined Knoll Furniture; now, interior design is a professional industry that has grown to create different styles and movements in office spaces as well as residential.

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An Unexpected Empire

By the 1950s, Knoll Furniture had grown exponentially. Florence and Hans opened multiple showrooms across the country, opened their own factory in Pennsylvania, and even opened a textile company called Knoll Textiles. Their success was evident, and their legacy was growing. By 1955, however, Hans Knoll died tragically in a car accident in Cuba. Florence immediately

took over and ran the Knoll Furniture companies for a decade, becoming the Director of Design at Knoll and then retiring altogether by 1965. Despite all the negative assumptions that the company would fall through after Hans’s death, Knoll Furniture became an empire. General Motors and General Life Insurance Company commissioned Knoll Furniture to design and create entire office spaces.

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An Outstanding Legacy

Florence Knoll died in 2019 at the age of 101, leaving behind a hugely successful company that still exists today. Although it was both Florence and Hans that created the insanely influential Knoll Furniture, it was the hard work and immense talent of Florence Knoll that changed the world.

Not only did she help cultivate the characteristics of modernism, but she shattered the glass ceiling for women in the world of spatial architecture. Her concepts of an open office, modern, sleek furniture that was eye-catching as well as practical, and affinity for clean lines and geometries transformed the American office space and home in the postwar era. If you are interested in buying from a local Auction House in Dania Beach and Fort Lauderdale, contact Joshua Kodner.

Owning a Piece of Knoll

Thankfully, Knoll Furniture and Florence Knoll’s legacy is still around today. Her vision is still seen in the dynamic and innovative designs of modern furniture and office space. The offices of today still incorporate Florence’s ideas of functionality, practicality, and aesthetics. Knoll Furniture continues to offer thoughtful designs that are meant to transcend the workplace and home, just as they did back in the 1930s.

Knoll Furniture was built with longevity in mind and can add a timeless flair to your workspace. Thanks to auction houses like Joshua Kodner, it’s still possible to own a piece of the vintage era of Knoll Furniture that is in great condition and still functional. This vintage furniture is a living testament of the Knolls’ commitment to practicality and design, and how timeless the modern design has become.

About Joshua Kodner Galleries

If you’re interested in owning a piece of vintage Knoll Furniture, it’s best to go to an auction house you can trust, with years of expertise and a set of rigorous quality standards. At Joshua Kodner, you can be assured that the pieces you purchase are real, authentic, and durable, thanks to our own rigorous quality standards. If you’re considering buying or selling furniture, contact the leading auction house in Florida.

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