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The living link to mid-century design

Florence Knoll is unusual among the designers of mid-century modern furniture that we love at Pash for the very simple reason that she is still alive. Aged 98, she forms a living link to a golden age of design.

At school, she developed a passion for architecture and befriended Eero Saarinen, who would himself become a designer of note through the beautifully organic Tulip table and chairs, reproductions of which are sold by Pash.

Florence also studied under Mies Van der Rohe, whose stunning Barcelona chair is another modernist design classic that is also part of the Pash range.

However, her break came in 1943 when she moved to New York and met future husband Hans Knoll, who was just starting his own furniture business. The partnership was complimentary – Florence provided the designs and Hans the business acumen – and international success soon followed.

At the heart of the company was the Knoll Planning Unit, essentially a designers’ brain trust that sought to redefine the interior of corporate offices, creating light and cleanly planned spaces for clients including CBS, General Motors and IBM. As part of these holistically planned interiors, Florence designed a range of furniture – The Knoll Collection – that has become universally acknowledged as modernist classics.

Florence’s approach to furniture was that it should be highly restrained yet perfectly proportioned and made from high quality materials. This philosophy means that pieces such as Pash’s Knoll sofa and chair have an inherent rightness that mean they look superb in any environment, whether placed in your office or home.

Many Knoll interiors used bright splashes of primary colour and, at Pash, we especially like to see her furniture used in these types of interior. The contrast between Florence’s reserved and correct designs and a bright red or yellow wall seems to work especially well.

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