Florence Knoll Basset (1917-2019)
Florence Knoll Basset passed away on the 25th January 2019
DATE: 25/1/2019
Docomomo International wishes to convey the most sincere condolences at the passing of the American designer Florence Knoll Basset, to her family and friends. 

“Florence Knoll Bassett, a pioneering designer and entrepreneur who created the modern look and feel of America’s postwar corporate office with sleek furniture, artistic textiles and an uncluttered, free-flowing workplace environment, died on Friday in Coral Cables, Florida. She was 101.

Florence Marguerite Schust was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on May 24, 1917, to Frederick and Mina (Haisting) Schust.
She attended Kingswood, a girls’ school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and later its affiliate in the same city, the Cranbrook Academy of Art, a fountainhead of architecture and design. [...] After two years at the Architectural Association in London, she returned to the United States as World War II began. She was an apprentice for a year at Gropius & Breuer in Boston, studied at Columbia University’s School of Architecture and under Mies van der Rohe, and earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Armour Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago in 1941.

In 1943, she became a designer for Mr. Knoll [...], who had established his own furniture business in New York in 1938. They were married in 1946, and she became his partner in Knoll Associates. While her husband handled business affairs, Ms. Knoll was the design force of Knoll Associates.
After Mr. Knoll died in a car accident in 1955, Ms. Knoll succeeded him as president and held that post until 1960. Although she sold her interest in the company, she remained as its design director until 1965, when she retired to a private practice in architecture and design in Florida.

Ms. Knoll Bassett donated her papers to the Smithsonian Institution in 2000. In 1961, she became the first woman to receive the Gold Medal for Industrial Design from the American Institute of Architects, and in 1983 she won the Athena Award of the Rhode Island School of Design. 
In 2003, President George W. Bush presented her with the nation’s highest award for artistic excellence, the National Medal of Arts.”

View the full article at New York Times here.
And to learn more about her legacy visit: Docomomo US + Pioneer Women

Photo: Ray Fisher/The LIFE Images Collection, via Getty Images