Florence Schust grew up in Saginaw, Michigan and demonstrated an early interest in architecture when she enrolled at the Kingswood School for Girls, adjacent to the Cranbrook Academy of Art.
While at Kingswood, Florence became friends with Eilel Saarinen, whom she would later study under at Cranbrook. Florence went on holiday with the Saarinens in Finland and enjoyed the company of their accomplished friends, forming a very close relationship with Eliel’s son, Eero.
The connections she made and the skills she developed while at Cranbrook were the foundations of Florence Schust’s incredible design education and pioneering career. With recommendations from Eliel Saarinen and Alvar Aalto, Florence continued her studies under some of the greatest 20th century architects, including Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In 1941, Florence moved to New York and met Hans Knoll who was establishing his furniture company. They pair married in 1946 and and grew their business into an international master/authority of style and design. Florence also seeded contributions with friends Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, and Mies van der Rohe.
Hans Knoll died tragically in 1955, resulting in Florence Knoll leading the company as president through uncertain times. In 1960, she resigned the presidency to focus on directing design and development and, in 1965, Florence Knoll Bassett (she remarried in 1957) retired from the company.
Products Inspired by Florence Knoll:
Florence Knoll Style Lounge Chair
Florence Knoll Style 2 Seat Sofa
Florence Knoll Style 3 Seat Sofa