Mid Century Modern meets Lyrical Abstraction



So everyone tells me I have to start blogging on our website. I’m not a writer by any means but my friends tell me to just let my personality shine through, so here it goes…

Currently in the shop, we are featuring the work of local artist, Angela Lexow. Her vibrant painting shown in this photo fits right in with the design ethics of two of the great Mid Century Modern designers, Florence Knoll and Charles Eames. I’m sure if they were around to see her work they would agree with me.

Not only are two iconic Mid Century Modern furniture designers represented here but also the two top icons of Mid Century Modern furniture manufacture. It may take me several blogs just to touch the surface.

I’m going to start by talking about Florence Knoll. She designed the wonderful credenza pictured here, one of the pieces on my personal wish list; unfortunately, for me, it’s here at the shop on consignment. But don’t let me get ahead of myself. Back to Florence and not the credenza.

Florence (Schust) Knoll Bassett, Shu for short, was born May 24, 1917 in Saginaw, Michigan. She graduated from Kingswood School and then studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Both of these schools are on the same campus in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She then attended and received her bachelor’s degree in architecture from Amour Institute which became the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1941.  Here’s where it starts to get really interesting.  Along the way she studied under two earlier design icons, Eliel Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was the designer of the famous Barcelona chair along with several other great pieces. She also worked briefly with several leaders of the Bauhaus movement. Two of those leaders being the incredible Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. All four of these great designers will most likely wind up another post.

Florence Schust met Hans Knoll in 1943 and began working for his fledgling company Knoll Furniture. She believed she could bring business to his company by working with architects and expanding into interior design.  With her background and wonderful eye for design she did just that. She and Hans were married in 1946 and she subsequently became a full business partner. Hans tragically died in a car accident in 1955 and Florence took over the company.

Thanks to Florence’s vision and design capabilities we now have many iconic pieces of furniture from the 20th century. Florence designed many of these pieces herself along with the many architects she enlisted to design for the company.  Most of them remain in production today. I could go on and on about her and the furniture and buildings she designed and the company she ran but that would make for way too long of a post. Let’s suffice it to say she is one of my heroes. Girl Power!!!!! If you are interested in learning more go to:  Florence_Knoll@observer.com

Bauhaus movement and the Cranbrook Academy of Art will both be great topics for future blog posts – Cranbrook just keeps inserting itself into my life.

The credenza by Florence Knoll, the incredible lounge chair by Charles Eames along with Angela Lexow’s acrylic painting “Fire in the Sky”, are all available and for sale at Warehouse 414.

Thanks for visiting our website!! 


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