An Orange Moon places KNOLL at NUMBER ONE on our list of TOP Mid Century Modern ICONIC Designers.
Sleek, clean and modern are all words that come to mind on this STELLAR oval top, chrome legged, walnut table. Use it as a dining table, desk, conference table… (We have one we use as a desk. Its marvelous. When guests happen by at the “lovenest,” aka our Pied a Terre, we clear away all the paperwork, books and such- add candles, flowers, wine and food. Pull up some chairs and poof! Done!
Knoll had perhaps the most thorough design education of any of her peers. Florence Schust was orphaned at age 12, and her guardian sent her to Kingswood, a girl’s boarding school that is part of the Cranbrook Educational Community in suburban Detroit. Her interest in design brought her to the attention of Eliel Saarinen, the Finnish architect and head of the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Saarinen and his wife took the talented child under their wing, and she became close to their son, the future architect Eero Saarinen. While a student at the academy, Florence befriended artist-designer Harry Bertoia and Charles and Ray Eames. Later, she studied under three of the Bauhaus masters who emigrated to the United States. She worked as an apprentice in the Boston architectural offices of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe taught her at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In 1941, she met Hans Knoll, whose eponymous furniture company was just getting off the ground. The furniture Florence created for these spaces reflects her Bauhaus training: the pieces are pure functional design, exactingly built; their only ornament from the materials, such as wood and marble. Her innovations — the oval conference table, for example, conceived as a way to ensure clear sightlines among all seated at a meeting — were always in the service of practicality. Sheer genius!