Hans Knoll (1914-1955) was born in Germany, son of a modern furniture inventor-manufacturer. In 1938, he has migrated to the US, infused with the same aspirations of his father, and started the associated Hans G. Knoll Furniture in a tiny office of New York.In 1946, he married Florence (Née Schust) Knoll (1917-), a Michigan-born architect, who worked with him as a designer of furniture as well as interior designer.
Florence Knoll studied at the Academy of Art, the Architectural Association in London Cranbroook and in the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he was a student of Mies Van der Rohe. After graduating, she worked in architecture studios Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Thereafter came her association with Hans Knoll, as an architect and designer with considerable experience and contacts. In 1946, they changed the name of the company and began to run the structure that would make them one of the most important and influential companies worldwide in the second half of the twentieth century. It has been decided that Knoll was to specifically focus on modern design, but she added to that the philosophy of Bauhaus. Namely, it meant that they were only going to produce products with design and technological excellence, which were adaptable for production mass.
The Knoll couple has also adopted a policy of credit and payment of royalties to designers, a practice that demonstrated the high level of respect and appreciation of the interrelationships. Many of the designers who worked with them were friends and colleagues, including Harry Bertoia and Eero Saarinen, who have first acquainted in Cranbrook with Florence Knoll. An expert has acquired the production rights of the popular line “Barcelona” by Mies, who had been her teacher, who taught him to create, facilitate and expand outside the US market for international style.
In 1945, Florence Knoll broke new ground with her view that “if the project is good,then the business is good,” creating the interiors of buildings and control Knoll image of the company. In 1947, the textile division, under her guidance, out of her frustration in trying to find materials, prints and appropriate to the values produced textures. Florence Knoll has also been director of mobile development projects, having designed numerous showrooms and exhibitions planned for the inputs, as in 1949 “An exhibition for modern living” in Detroit. Florence Knoll designed furnitures for Hans Knoll for many years and has exhibited her work at MoMA. Hans Knoll died in a car accident in 1955 and Florence was raised to the presidency of the company of her husband.