When I created H-A-L-E.com, I was motivated to bring the spotlight to women in design. Through all my years in the creative world, I've found that women and their success in the industry are not talked about enough. To be more frank - women are not talked about enough. So, throughout my site, you will will continue to see me bring attention to the women that have made their mark (and inspired so many of us!) in a very masculine driven field.
With that said, I wanted to bring my little blog of a light to Florence Knoll (Knoll.com) as she celebrates her 100th birthday today! This is one woman who certainly deserves some praise!
Knoll's furniture is very distinct in appearance and typically stands out for its sleek silhouettes. Knoll was motivated to start designing furniture not only to be functional but also to designate the way she wanted an interior space to function as well as relate to the overall composition. This was inevitably part of her concept of "total design" in which she aspired to work in a broad range of design fields including architecture, manufacturing, interior design, textiles, graphics, advertising and presentation.
The core of Florence Knoll's drive for design dates back from her early years when she attended Kingswood School in Cranbrook, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art. This is where she studied under Eliel Saarinen. Knoll later went on to study town planning at the School of Architecture at Columbia University and then on to explore furniture-making with Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames. As World War II started to spread, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and worked for Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, and was influenced by the Bauhaus school and Marcel Breuer's steel-tubed modern furniture. This led to the Illinois Institute of Technology n Chicago, where she studied under Mies van der Rohe.
Yes, she had many mentors who influenced her design,but would go on to say that she learned more from Rohe than from anybody else (and he did not talk much!).
Knoll's designs were very influential during the post-war period. When textiles were not available, Florence turned to tweed before eventually creating her very own fabrics. Her first major customers were a family called the Rockefeller's (you may have heard of them?).
Today, Florence is known as a pioneer of modern furniture and has received many awards and accolades including the American Institute of Architects’ Industrial Design Gold Medal, the American Society of Interior Designers’ Total Design Award and the National Medal of Arts, awarded by President George W. Bush.
Bravo, Florence Knoll!!
I wish you the happiest birthday - thank you for the inspiration!