...Knoll A Wilhelm; A Walter; A Willy; A Hans; A Florence; A Lineage Although research into its ancestry is still very much ongoing, the wild Knoll, Knoll furniturus, is popularly believed to have originated in the region of the contemporary Stuttgart; what is certain is that it was in the contemporary Stuttgart that Knoll furniturus was first domesticated as Knoll wilhelmus, a Knoll typified by its leathery character and whose most successful cultivation was unquestionably in conjunction with a leather furniture factory in the contemporary Stuttgart; and a leathery Knoll, a leather furniture factory, whose many admirers included the royal Württemberg court, the, then, rulers of the lands comprising the contemporary Stuttgart... And a leather furniture factory in whose environment a new generation of Knoll was raised; the most prominent of Knoll wilhelmus' progeny being Knoll walterus, commonly known as Walter and Knoll willyus, or Willy...
Knoll International - at that time Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company - was founded in 1938 by Hans Knoll, who, as the son of Walter Knoll, had grown up with a strong relationship to the furniture industry, specifically the Bauhaus movement had a strong influence on him and he would come to count Bauhaus pioneers Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer among his circle of acquaintances. Driven by the idea that modern architects needed modern furniture, he hired room designer and designer Florence Schust, who with a degree from Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, a degree in architecture from the Architectural Association in London, and experience from the architecture offices of Gropius and Breuer had an impressive, modernist, CV. Following their marriage in 1946 Florence Knoll and Hans Knoll founded Knoll Associates and retained the Bauhaus approach, but through cooperating with Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Jens Risom and Isamu Noguchi also guided the company in a more international direction. To this day, Knoll International is one of the most renowned manufacturers in the design furniture industry and counts design classics like the Barcelona Collection by Mies van der Rohe, the Saarinen Tulip Chairs by Eero Saarinen, the Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer and the well-known Diamond Chairs by Harry Bertoia among its exclusive portfolio.
Knoll Inc. was acquired in 1974 by Marshall S. Cogan and has been managed since 2001 by his son Andrew B. Cogan, who listed the company to the New York Stock Exchange in 2004. Globally the furniture manufacturer presents its portfolio in numerous flagship stores and showrooms. In addition to its headquarters in the United States, Knoll has manufacturing facilities in the USA, Canada and Italy; all production sites focus on modern technologies, qualified personnel, safety and environmental friendliness. Knoll International has received numerous awards, including the National Design Award for Corporate and Institutional Achievement of the New York Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. In 2019, the company will celebrate its 80th anniversary.
Knoll designers and collections
True to the Bauhaus philosophy that furniture should not compete with the architectural space, but should complement it, the furniture manufacturer Knoll produces both functional and long-lasting Bauhaus classics as well as contemporary designs by younger designers, and that through two principle channels: "KnollStudio" which focuses on design furniture for the home and "KnollOffice" which focuses on furnishing systems and seating for office space and contract use. One of the most famous Knoll product lines is the Barcelona Collection, originally designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the German Pavilion at the World Expo 1929 Barcelona. To this day, the former Bauhaus director is considered one of the most important personalities in the history of architecture and design and in 1948 Mies van der Rohe granted Knoll exclusive rights to manufacture of the Barcelona furniture, the Brno Chair and the MR Collection. Other Knoll design classics came from Harry Bertoia, who helped Charles Eames in 1946 to develop methods for layering and shaping plywood, and was a passionate metal artist; consequently it should not be a surprise that his Bertoia Chair Collection from the year 1952 is considered worldwide as one of the greatest achievements of furniture design of the 20th century. A few years later, Knoll International and Eero Saarinen launched the famous Pedestal Collection: the Tulip Chairs and the matching Saarinen Dining Tables, which both manage without the conventional four chair or table legs, are today unrivalled classics in furniture history.
Knoll has long demonstrated a high level of sensitivity in the areas of climate responsibility, certification and sustainable design; which means, amongst other aspects, the company tries to make the entire manufacturing process as environmentally friendly as possible, from material procurement and packaging through to sales. Through the use of recycled, recyclable or similar sustainable materials, Knoll International aims to minimise environmental impact. Something reinforced by the particularly high quality of Knoll furniture, which can ideally be passed on from generation to generation due to their long service life. The manufacturer has received several awards for its environmental and conservation efforts and was the first furniture company to have ISO and ISO 14001 certification in the US and Europe. In 2004, Knoll was also founding sponsor of the Modernism at Risk Program of the World Monuments Fund, an initiative dedicated to preserving modern buildings around the world that are in danger of deterioration and demolition.
smow sells exclusively originals from licensed manufacturers and is an official trading partner of Knoll International.
More about 'Knoll' in our blog
...And that as a general rule she wasn't one for unyielding quadratic forms; even if the reserved monumentality of the 1965 marble table Jumbo for Knoll indicates she understood such...
smow Blog Design Calendar: May 17th 1955 - Charles Eames Granted US Patent 2,708,476 for Furniture Frame Construction
...First patented in the 1930s, fibreglass had found a widespread use in context of the War, largely in conjunction with the aircraft industry, and post-War was starting to make inroads into furniture design, not least in the form, pun intended, of Eero Saarinen's 1948 Womb Chair for Knoll... ⋄ A further path for another day is that which Harry Bertoia took to his 1952 wire Diamond Chair for Knoll...
..." Legend dictates that Hans Knoll saw the lamp and enquired about the possibility of producing it commercially, Noguchi agreed, and in 1947 Knoll Associates released the Model 9 Table Lamp by Isamu Noguchi... Adapted for industrial production the three stabs of the Knoll lamp are much simpler, devoid of the rounded end pieces of the 1943/44 original, and the PVC shade is reinforced with fibreglass to increase its durability, but perhaps the most important change is the size: the original version for Ailes stood some 93 cm high, and thus an object intended to be stood on the floor as an independent part of a room's scenography, the Knoll version at just 40 cm is/was very much, as the name implies, a table lamp...
...Florence Knoll - Architect In addition to nurturing her educationally the Saarinens also took Florence Schust under their wing, making her in all but title part of their family, and taking her with them on their annual summer holiday to Europe... The Knoll Planning Unit Moving to New York in 1941 Florence Schust jobbed for several architectural practices before her path crossed that of Hans Knoll: scion of a German furniture dynasty, in the process of establishing his own furniture company in New York, a furniture company specialising in the modern European designs Hans had, in effect, grown up with...
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