In honor of Creative Romance Month, Spaces Inc. is highlighting beloved furniture designers who have set the bar high by creating furniture designs that have been able to withstand the test of time. Thanks to Kyle Garner, founder of a Brooklyn, NY antique gallery, for lending his expansive knowledge of 20th Century furniture design to Complex.com, creating “The 25 Furniture Designers You Need to Know” list. As you review many of these internationally renowned designers’ history, you will find their creative designs are available through our friends at Knoll.
Florence Knoll Bassett
Florence and Hans Knoll made an amazing team. When Florence met Hans he was just launching his furniture company. He possessed the business and sales skills necessary to succeed and she contributed her background in architecture along with design skills. They created the Knoll Planning Unit, where Florence was responsible for the interior designs and space planning f some of America’s largest, most well-known corporations, such as IBM, GM and CBS. After Hans’ death, Florence led the company until retiring in 1965. Although Florence never considered herself a designer, her designs are celebrated and she is widely known to have contributed to the rise of Modernism in America. View the Florence Knoll Lounge Collection currently available on Knoll’s site.
Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect born to world famous parents within the design world. He was naturally gifted in design and grew up immersed in it, gifting us with the great designs of the St. Louis Arch, Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the TWA Terminal at Kennedy International Airport and the CBS headquarters in New York. He was invited to design for Knoll furniture by Florence Knoll after she joined the company in the 1940s and received the most attention for his Tulip chairs and tables, Womb chair, and executive armless chair while at Knoll. View Saarinen’s collection currently available through Knoll
Born in Denmark to well-known architect Sven Risom, Jens Risom moved to New York in 1941 and helped Hans Knoll with the development of his furniture company. Risom was Knoll’s first official designer and was the sole designer of interiors and furnitures during the company’s early days. According to Garner, Risom designed 15 of the 20 pieces in Knoll’s inaugural “600” line. See Risom’s designs on Knoll.com now.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
German American Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, known as Mies, set the modern architecture standard for many generations with his minimalist designs included in his furniture, residential projects and skyscrapers. He preferred free flowing space with no solid boundaries to rooms, which challenged the architectural standards of the time. Friend and mentor to Florence Knoll, he granted Knoll exclusive rights to produce his furniture in 1948. This included his popular Barcelona collection, a chair and ottoman originally designed for the King and Queen of Spain, and Brno Chair. Check out Mies’s world famous furniture designs now.
Born in San Lorenzo, Italy in 1915, Harry Bertoia was amazingly talented and gifted in many realms of design and art. According to Knoll historian Brian Lutz, “Bertoia’s paintings were better than his sculptures. And his sculptures were better than his furniture. And his furniture was absolutely brilliant.” Bertoia left Italy at the young age of 15 to visit his brother in Detroit, Mich., studied design at Cranbrook Academy of Art and never returned home. Florence Knoll studied with Bertoia at Cranbook Academy of Art and knew he was capable of great creations. She persuaded him to head east and gave him a corner in one of Knoll’s production facilities. He was told he could experiment with anything he desired and that it didn’t need to be furniture. He ended up creating his famous wire furniture collection for Knoll that has been in continuous production since its original creation. Bertoia’s collection can be viewed on Knoll’s site here.
Other iconic designers include Charles and Ray Eames. This husband and wife duo were most well known for their Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, which was a status symbol in the post war era. Another designer famous for his chair, Hungarian architect and designer Marcel Breuer created a chair inspired by a simple bicycle frame and by the constructivist theories of the De Stjil movement, called the Wassily Chair. View this chair on Knoll’s website by clicking here. Be sure to read the entire list of furniture designers the world fell in love with on Complex’s blog and check out our friends over at Knoll’s extensive list of furniture designers.