Knoll Textiles, 1945-2010
"The curatorial focus here is the importance of Knoll’s leadership and design directors who took risks to enhance innovation, promoted creativity, embraced new ideas"
Knoll has been a leading proponent of progressive furnishings and interior design since the early 1940s, when the company was formed under the direction of Hans Knoll, who had come to the United States from Germany to expand the family furniture business. Fundamental to Hans Knoll’s success was the partnership he began in 1943 with Florence Schust, a talented graduate of the Cranbrook Academy of Art who had studied architecture both at the Architectural Association in London and with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Hans and Florence were married in 1946, and her contacts gave the company access to many leading modern designers. In addition to her experience and contacts, Florence Knoll brought a strong commitment to innovation and adherence to quality.
Organized along four themes, Knoll Textiles, 1945–2010 first considers the formation, shaping, and dissemination of the brand over time. The curatorial focus here is the importance of Knoll’s leadership and design directors who took risks to enhance innovation, promoted creativity, embraced new ideas and gave resources to develop them, ultimately leading to success within the design industry. This section also considers the significance of Knoll’s promotion and marketing of textiles.
Knoll Textiles, 1945–2010 is accompanied by an extensively illustrated catalogue published by the Bard Graduate Center in collaboration with Yale University Press. Edited by Earl Martin, the book will provide an in-depth analysis of Knoll Textiles. The contributors include Paul Makovsky on the Knoll firm before the founding of Knoll Textiles; Susan Ward on the context for modern textiles in America from the late 1930s to the early 1960s and Knoll’s key contributions during this period; Bobbye Tigerman, assistant curator of decorative arts and design at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on Florence Knoll and the Knoll Planning Unit; and Angela Völker on Knoll Textiles from 1965 to 2010. Knoll Textiles, 1945–2010 makes a major contribution to modern design history by resurrecting the stories of nearly seventy-five designers who created textiles for Knoll from 1942 to the present in an extensive biography section, which provides previously unpublished and critical information.
Knoll Textiles, 1945–2010 has been generously supported by Knoll, Inc.
Additional funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.
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