Walter Knoll was born in Stuttgart in 1878 as the son of an upholstered furniture manufacturer. After several years in the military, and as an employee in the father's business, Walter Knoll established his own company, a company that quickly folded causing him to flee to the US to escape creditors. In 1907, he returned to Germany where, together with his brother Wilhelm, he took over his father's leather business, before later establishing the company Knoll & Co. together with Paul Hahn. Walter Knoll was the first manufacturer's to specialize in the serial production of Bauhaus furniture; in addition, the manufacturer furnished some of the apartments designed by Mies van der Rohe at the Weißenhofsiedlung Stuttgart exhibition. Walter Knoll remained managing director of his company until his death 1971 - and thus did not experience the furnishing of the Berlin Tegel Airport in 1975. Walter Knoll's first-born son, Robert, took over his father's business before in 1993 Rolf Benz took over the internationally renowned design company, which continues to grow steadily: Walter's second son, Hans Knoll, went his own way, establishing Knoll Associates in New York, one of America's most important contemporary furniture companies.
The Knoll Family
The history of the internationally renowned furniture company Knoll goes back to 1865, when Wilhelm Knoll (1839-1907) founded his leather business in Stuttgart. "Knoll leather" developed in the course of subsequent decades to become one of the leading suppliers to the Württemberg ruling house. In 1906 the Leather Furniture Manufacture became the Leather Seating Furniture Manufacture Wilhelm Knoll under the management of his two sons Willy and Walter Knoll. At the age of fifty Walter Knoll founded his own company, Walter Knoll & Co GmbH, which in the following decades was to become one of the most successful and trend-setting European furniture manufacturers. At the end of the 1930s Hans Knoll, the eldest son of Walter Knoll, where together together with his American wife Florence Knoll founded the American furniture manufacturer Knoll International. The Second World War put a, temporary, stop to the further expansion of the German Knoll, bomb damage combining with war time restrictions ans laws leading to a cessation of production. Production was resumed in 1945 and at the end of the 1940s Robert Knoll became a partner in his father's business and both helped the company rise again and to make an important name for itself in the course of the 1950s. The continuation of the original Wilhelm Knoll was initially managed by Willy Knoll and was taken over in turn on his death by his son Dieter Knoll, who subsequently founded the company Dieter Knoll in Austria. In 1964 Walter Knoll handed over the management of his branch of the business to his son Robert Knoll and Dr. Ing. Walter Combe. From 1982, Michael Knoll and Stephan Combe headed the company and eventually merged with Wilhelm Knoll. Finally, in 1993, the family business was take over by the furniture family Benz and has since been managed by Markus Benz.
smow sells exclusively originals from licensed manufacturers and is an official Walter Knoll trading partner.