Here is the link to the article remembering Florence Knoll who died last Friday at the age of 101.
To sum up how important she was, she was essentially the Mother of Modernism in my view. She studied and under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer in Cambridge Massachusetts, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before coming to the U.S, Gropius had founded the Bauhaus Art School in Germany in 1919 where both Breuer and Mies van der Rohe had been leading tutors . She then took the Bauhaus principals of Modernism to the American market. She did this by expanding her husbands furniture business by offering their services to work with Architects to design all the elements of interiors for their buildings when the concept of Interior design did not yet exist. She called the service they created The Planning Unit and as a unit it was responsible for the design of all internal colour schemes, lighting, internal layout design and furnishing. From her brilliant office designs the American market then developed a taste for the type of natural, highly functional and beautifully simple interior designs that the Bauhaus had in turn borrowed from the Scandinavians. This demand from the strong post-war American market together with Knoll’s support in commissioning and the Bauhaus era designers is what then led to Modern Design gaining the global foothold it did in the 50s and has maintained quietly ever since. She lived to 101 and died on Friday. What an incredible century to have lived through, helped design and witness change. RIP Florence Knoll