Early Florence Knoll Walnut Credenza with Cane Sliding Door
Florence Knoll for Knoll International, sideboard, walnut, seagrass, cane, steel and leather, United States, 1948.
An early office-residential crossover piece. The wooden sideboard has two sliding doors which are covered with cane. Inside there are several shelves for plenty of storage. The legs a finished in black tubular steel this model was produced between 1948 and 1964. He design of this sideboard is part of the early Florence Knoll designs. Her early designs were in her eyes only practical, functional fill-ins for office spaces. She claimed to use her star designers for the eye-catching pieces and these cabinets were designed because she felt they were necessary to make office spaces function and practical. Nowadays, the modesty and simplicity of these pieces make them timeless and perhaps more suited to the contemporary interior than many of the designs of that same era.
Florence Knoll (1917-) was trained as an architect and had a sense of style from a very young age. During her school time at Cranbrook, Eliel Saarinen (then the headmaster) and his family included her in their family. In 1936 she met Alvar Aalto and was trained by Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and (as if the long list of eminen designers is not long enough) Mies van der Rohe. This meant that although she was barely out of her teens, she was educated by the best of the European modernists. When she arrived in New York she worked on interior projects (being the only female) which is how she came to know Hans Knoll. When Florence joined Knoll, the planning unit started. Florence also made sure that the designs where more 'American Modernist' instead of Scandinavian, when Hans Knoll died she took over and did it with the utmost skill and professionality. Her long list of architect friends designed many famous pieces yet her own imprint on the company including her designs in what can be called 'humanist modernism' is what truly had the greatest impact.
Knoll International was founded in New York by the 26 year old German Hans Knoll (1914-1955) in 1938. Hans' father, Walter Knoll was a true modernist and furniture manufacturer who had a reputation for quality. When Hans Knoll died at a young age his wife Florence Knoll took over and under her influence the company flourished and created its best designs. She designed and led the company where she cooperated with talented designers such as Eero Saarinen, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Richard Schultz and Harry Bertoia.