Knoll: A Modernist Universe

The history of Knoll is the history of modern design. Founded in 1938 by Hans Knoll and joined by his wife, Florence Knoll, the company is credited for bringing European modern design to America, then nurturing the best homegrown talents at mid-century to build the most successful and prestigious high-end furniture company in the world. Throughout its history Knoll has been at the forefront of cutting-edge and chic design, the first company to produce Mies van der Rohe’s and Marcel Breuer’s tubular furniture for a receptive domestic market, making Bauhaus ideals a reality to an American audience. Knoll also leveraged America’s newfound economic and cultural status after World War II by commissioning now-iconic furniture pieces, such as Eero Saarinen’s Tulip chair and Harry Bertoia’s Wire chairs. More recently Knoll has produced instant classics from Frank Gehry and Richard Meier. Equally significant is Knoll’s pioneering foray into office planning, which resulted in Florence Knoll’s iconic furniture and later one of the first office systems. Knoll also fully integrated graphic design into its program, with photography and advertising by masters such as Herbert Matter and Massimo Vignelli. Comprehensive in narrative and scope, this monograph will be a classic in its own right with images and texts on furniture, furnishings, systems, graphics, and unique insight into the modern world that is Knoll.

About The Author

Brian Lutz is the author of the first full monograph on the furniture of the Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen. Reed Kroloff is the Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

  • Publish Date: April 27, 2010
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Design - Furniture
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 11 x 11
  • Pages: 300
  • US Price: $75.00
  • CDN Price: $92.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-3186-9


"The early chapters of Brian Lutz’s Knoll: A Modernist Universe (Rizzoli) read like a portrait of the Greatest Generation, only with really cool furniture. Hans Knoll, an entrepreneur from a well-known German furniture-manufacturing family, and Florence Schust, an architect whose education brought her in contact with greats like Eliel Saarinen and Mies van der Rohe, married in 1946 and quickly turned Hans’s small company into a design powerhouse." ~New York Times Magazine

"Why We Love It: Knoll takes a comprehensive look at the brand's history, including how it leveraged post-war prosperity to become onf ot he most prestigious furniture companies in the world." ~Luxe

"Knoll: A Modernist Universe (Rizzoli, $75) surveys the global powerhouse from its start in 1938 to the fabrics and furnishings it produces for high-tech interiors today." ~Elle Decor

"Rizzoli's new Knoll: A Modernist Universe is a history of all things Knoll - the founders, the company, the furniture... It looks like a coffee-table book - there are some quite glamorous photos of iconic chairs and some pretty nifty vintage material - but this is a book to read as well as browse." ~Home Miami