Knoll (company)

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Knoll, Inc.
FoundersHans and Florence Knoll
HeadquartersEast Greenville, Pennsylvania, United States
Key people
Andrew B. Cogan, CEO
ProductsDesigner furniture
Number of employees
ParentHerman Miller (2021-present)

Knoll, Inc. is an American 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.[2] The company manufactures furniture for the home by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll (Florence Schust), Frank Gehry, Charles Gwathmey, 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.[3]


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).[4] In addition, the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and trades under the symbol:KNL.

In 2011, Knoll received the National Design Award for Corporate and Institutional Achievement from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.[5]

The acquisition of Knoll by Herman Miller was announced in April 2021 in a $1.8 billion deal. The merger closed in the third quarter of 2021.[6]

Notable designers[edit]

Many noteworthy designers have done work for Knoll, including:[7]

Significant 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 products are included in museum collections, such as the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.[8]

  • In 1948, Eero Saarinen designed the womb chair[9]
  • In 1956, the company commissioned Eero Saarinen to design the Tulip chair for production.[10]
  • Following production of the tulip chair, the tulip table was designed by Saarinen.
  • In 1953, the company was accorded exclusive manufacturing and sales rights to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe furniture, including the Barcelona chair designed in collaboration with Lilly Reich 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 ("Butterfly chair") by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy. Cheaper imitations flooded the market. Knoll took legal action in 1950, in the end losing their claim of copyright infringement; the model was dropped in 1951.[11][12]

Architecture preservation[edit]

Knoll sponsors exhibitions, scholarships, and other activities related to Modernist 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 design solutions for at risk Modernist buildings, provides funding for conservation projects, and raises awareness of the threats to Modernist architecture through exhibitions and lectures.

The World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize is awarded every two years to projects that preserve Modernist architecture.

In 2008, the first Knoll Modernism award was given to Winfried Brenne and Franz Jaschke of the German firm Brenne Gesellschaft von Architekten for the restoration of the former ADGB Trade Union School building on the outskirts of Berlin. The school, built between 1928 and 1930, was a project of the Bauhaus design school. The architects were Hannes Meyer, then director of the Bauhaus, and Hans Wittwer.[13]

The 2010 prize went to Hubert-Jan Henket and Wessel de Jonge, the founders of Docomomo International, for the restoration of Zonnestraal Sanatorium (estate) in Hilversum, The Netherlands.[14] 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.[15]

Similar companies[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Markets | Knoll".
  3. ^ "Behance". Retrieved 2020-04-21.
  4. ^ U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (March 3, 2014). "KNOLL, INC. Commission File No. 001-12907". SEC. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved June 3, 2014.
  5. ^ "2011 National Design Awards: Corporate and Institutional Achievement — Knoll". Cooper–Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2015. On December 1, 2016, Knoll announced the acquisition of the Buffalo, New York based DatesWeiser Furniture Corporation.
  6. ^ "Furniture Maker Herman Miller to Acquire Knoll in $1.8B Deal". Detroit Business. April 19, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  7. ^ "Our Designers". Knoll. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  8. ^ Knoll Textiles | People | Collection of Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
  9. ^ Atomic dwelling : anxiety, domesticity, and postwar architecture. Schuldenfrei, Robin. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 2012. ISBN 9780415676083. OCLC 707965989.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ 1956-, Massey, Anne (2011). Chair. London: Reaktion Books. ISBN 978-1780232492. OCLC 863199531.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "MID Archives: Butterfly Chair". Modern In Denver—Colorado's Design Magazine. 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2021-09-10.
  12. ^ Tribune, Mary Beth Klatt, Special to the. "FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY". Retrieved 2021-09-10.
  13. ^ "Architectuul: ADGB trade union school". 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  14. ^ "World Monuments / Knoll Prize for Modernism 2010. Zonnestraal Sanatorium (1928–1931)" (PDF). Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  15. ^ "World Monuments / Knoll Prize for Modernism 2012. Hizuchi Elementary School (1956–1958)" (PDF). Retrieved 19 November 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • McCattee, Cammie; Floré, Fredie (2017). "Knolling Paris: from the "new look" to Knoll au Louvre". In Floré, Fredie; McAtee, Cammie (eds.). The Politics of Furniture: Identity, Diplomacy and Persuasion in Post-War Interiors. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9781317020479.

External links[edit]