January 25, 2019

Florence Knoll Bassett, Pioneer of American Office Design, Dies at 101

Photography by Eric Laignel.

American designer Florence Knoll Bassett passed away on January 25, 2019 in Coral Cables, Florida. She was 101.

David E. Bright, spokesman for Knoll Inc., announced her passing. Knoll Bassett and her husband Hans Knoll ran the company for many years together, beginning in the 1940s. She had a large hand in the creative vision of Knoll, started the Knoll Planning Unit, and directed the design of the company’s iconic furniture, textiles, and graphics.

Knoll Bassett studied under Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and collaborated with Isamu Noguchi and Alexander Girard, among others, during a pivotal time in the development of American Modern design.

“We’re like art dealers,” Knoll Bassett said of discovering new designers for Knoll. “We want fresh, original work. And we want it from anyone who can produce it.”

In 1961, Knoll Bassett became the first woman recipient of the Gold Medal for Industrial Design from AIA. In 2003, she received the highest award for artistic excellence in America, the National Medal of Arts.

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