Knoll (company)

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Traded as NYSEKNL
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1938
Founder Hans and Florence Knoll
Headquarters East Greenville, Pennsylvania, USA
Key people
Florence Knoll
Products Designer furniture

Knoll, Inc is a design firm that produces office systems, seating, files and storage, tables and desks, textiles (KnollTextiles), and accessories for the office, home, and higher education settings.[1] The company manufactures furniture for the home by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll (Florence Schust), Frank Gehry, Maya Lin and Eero Saarinen under the company's KnollStudio division. Over 40 Knoll designs can be found in the permanent design collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


The company was founded in New York City in 1938 by Hans Knoll. Production facilities were moved to Pennsylvania in 1950. After the death of Hans in 1955, his wife Florence Knoll took over as head of the company. The company is headquartered in East Greenville, Pennsylvania and has manufacturing sites in North America (East Greenville, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Toronto) and Italy (Foligno and Graffignana).[2] In addition, the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and trades under the symbol:KNL

Notable products[edit]

The Tulip chair, designed for Knoll by Eero Saarinen in 1956
Many of the company's products are on permanent display at MOMA in NYC.

Many of the company's product are included in museum collections, such as the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.[3]

  • In 1956 the company commissioned Eero Saarinen to design the Tulip chair for production.
  • In 1953 the company was accorded exclusive manufacturing and sales rights to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe furniture, including the Barcelona chair designed for the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion. [1]
  • The company holds production rights to the Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer.
  • In 1947 Knoll acquired exclusive U.S. production rights of the Hardoy chair ("Buttefly chair") by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy. Cheaper imitations flooded the market. Knoll took legal action in 1950, in the end losing theír claim of copyright infringement; the model was dropped in 1951.

Knoll and the design community[edit]

Knoll sponsors exhibitions, scholarships, and other activities related to modern architecture and design.

In 2006, Knoll and the World Monuments Fund, a New York-based non-profit organization, launched Modernism at Risk, an advocacy and conservation program. Modernism at Risk encourages innovative design solutions for imperiled Modern buildings, provides funding for conservation projects, and raises awareness of the threats to Modern architecture through exhibitions and lectures. The World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize is awarded biennially to a designer or design firm in recognition of projects that preserve Modern landmarks.[4]

In 2008, the first award was given to Winfried Brenne and Franz Jaschke of the firm Brenne Gesellschaft von Architekten. The colleagues received the Knoll Modernism Prize for their restoration of a school in Germany built in 1930 and designed by Hans Wittwer and the second director of the Bauhaus, Hannes Meyer. The 2010 prize went to the founders of DOCOMOMO, Hubert-Jan Henket and Wessel de Jonge, for the restoration of a 1920s sanatorium in Zonnestraal in Hilversum, The Netherlands. The 2012 prize was given to a consortium of Japanese architects and academics for the restoration of the 1950s Hizuchi Elementary School on Shikoku island, Japan.

In 2011, Knoll received the prestigious National Design Award for Corporate and Institutional Achievement from the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The award honors excellence in design and the public impact of the Knoll body of work. Past winners include the U.S. Green Building Council, Google, Nike, Aveda, and Apple, with Knoll being the first furniture manufacturer bestowed with this honor.

Higher Education[edit]

Knoll, Inc provides Activity Space furniture, which includes products and accessories such as the Powercube and Interpole.[5] Competitors in this field include, Herman Miller, KI, Haworth, Steelcase, and Allsteel. Knoll focuses on design, modern form and modern function for collaborating spaces, whereas competitors compete on classroom furnishing.

Similar companies[edit]


External links[edit]