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A History of Design
Knoll- Company Overview
Timeless Knoll classics by designers like Harry Bertoia and Mies van der Rohe are available at Smart Furniture at the lowest prices available on the web. Shop our collection of Knoll chairs, tables and desks.
Knoll is the first name in furniture design. Founded in 1938 by groundbreaking designer Florence Knoll and her husband Hans, and with locations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ontario, and Italy, Knoll furniture quickly came to prominence as the preeminent design studio in the United States and around the world. Not only did Knoll furniture designers produce some of the most thrilling furniture this century, Knoll management secured the production rights of the most qualified and famous designers. Knoll has the right to manufacture and sell products by luminaries like Mies van der Rohe (the Barcelona collection), Harry Bertoia (the Bertoia wire chairs), Marcel Breuer (the Wassily Chair), Eero Saarinen (the Tulip chair), and Jens Risom (the Risom lounge chair). You won't find such a collection of stars at any other furniture studio.
Knoll is committed to improving quality of life by improving the quality of your home and workplace. Knoll furniture brings design, beauty, comfort and elegance to the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedroom, office, cafeteria, and lobby. There are no limits to the range of applications Knoll strives to make perfect furniture for, and no other company who can accomplish every goal with such verve and intelligence. Choose Knoll furniture when you're choosing pieces: You won't just be buying furniture, you'll be claiming an art object, an installation meant to enrich your environment, and an inheritance for your children. Long-lasting, perfectly made, brilliantly designed, Knoll is the place for fine furniture.
Knoll co-founder and chief designer Florence Knoll began her long and continuing career at the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She quickly came under the wing of legendary European designer Eero Saarinen, and from then on her life was inextricably tied to outstanding design, outstanding designers, and amazing furniture. She worked with Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Wallace K. Harrison. In 1946 she married Hans Knoll, cementing their partnership and taking a larger role in the company. Without her far-seeing wisdom Knoll would never have secured partnerships with the best designers in the world, and would certainly never have embraced her principles of "total design," which changed the nature of American architecture and design in profound ways. Florence Knoll blazed a trail for design in the office, the personal workspace, the lobby, the hospital, the government hall, and dozens of other spaces given little attention and less aesthetic emphasis. She cared deeply about the plain objects in the world, and the everyday spaces, and strove to make them extraordinary with ravishing design and a touch of beauty and elegance.
In 2002, in recognition of her influence, career and contributions to American design, Florence Knoll was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts' National Medal of Arts in 2002. There are no higher national honors available to such an artist.
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Guiding Principles- Total Design
Florence Knoll, and by extension, Knoll itself, is committed to the concept of total design. Every space within a home or office can be and should be given attention. There are no separate elements to a room: the whole is the sum of its parts, and every part is important. Knoll furniture believes in giving each piece the attention it deserves, and creating a total space. It was Florence Knoll who brought these concepts to the fore of Knoll's philosophy, and within a few years her ideas, radical when first introduced, were the industry standard. It is to Knoll's credit that while every other furniture company is now a follower, none have been able to surpass the extraordinary work that continues to pour out of the draft rooms, hands and minds of the Knoll team.
A History of Design
Knoll was at the forefront of what is commonly referred to today as mid-century design. The American housing boom following World War II presented a grand opportunity for architects, designers, and engineers to revolutionize what a modern home could be. These new, technologically advanced, homes unfettered by traditional concepts of design were often filled with contemporary furniture, and this furniture was frequently manufactured by Knoll.
Many concepts inherent in modern home and furniture design originated in Scandinavia, and Knoll was quick to recognize the merits of Scandinavian design. Many of Knoll's most famous designers were actually European in origin. Mies van der Rohe was born in Germany, Harry Bertoia in Italy, and Eero Saarinen in Finland. All of these eventually moved to American where they were responsible for some of the most original furniture and architecture of the twentieth century. Today these classics are still available from Knoll.
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Knoll and the Environment
"Today, Knoll continues to focus on three key environmental areas: climate change, third-party certification; and environmentally-responsible materials, products, and processes. And we are continuing to set industry-leading standards for sustainable design."
Andrew Cogan, CEO
As a result of their Energy Management Program, Knoll has created an impressive framework for sustainable design and manufacturing. A member of the Clinton Global Initiative Energy and Climate Change Working Group, Knoll make a commitment in 2006 to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by ten percent over three years through investments in green infrastructure. These investments, which exceeded $2 million, along with a successful Energy Management Program, resulted in a 10.41 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2008.
A host of Knoll products are Greenguard Certified and at least partially recyclable. Knoll's commitment to sustainable design and production processes is apparent in their products.
Read more about about Knoll Furniture's commitment to environmental consciousness.