International Decorative Art

Two Seat Sofa (Model 1205S2)

Two Seat Sofa (Model 1205S2)

Design Date 1954

Designer Florence Knoll (1917–2019, American)

Manufacturer Knoll International (1938–present), New York, NY

Media chromed metal and wool upholstery

Dimensions 28 x 62 x 31 1/4 inches

Florence Knoll, founder with her husband Hans Knoll of the manufacturer Knoll International, was a furniture and interior designer in her own right. She called herself the “meat and potatoes” designer of Knoll International, creating the simpler pieces that the rest of the company’s designers ignored. She said, “I did it because I needed the piece of furniture for a job and it wasn’t there, so I designed it.” As the head of the Knoll Planning Unit, which designed the interior of office buildings, Florence Knoll championed “humanized modernism”, an approach that took the sometimes sterile principles of modernist design and made them comfortable for everyday life. Knoll and her associates warmed up the black, white and beige of the “Knoll look” with accents of primary colors. Knoll felt that her furniture should be anonymous, without the organic shapes or bright colors that the other (mostly-male) Knoll International designers created. Even so, Florence Knoll’s own furniture designs, characterized by their rigorous geometry and pared-down lines, show her attention to detail. Steel legs at right angles were common in Knoll’s tables and sofas. She also stuck to the neutral colors of the Knoll International palette. A final characteristic of Knoll’s look was the “shadow line”, the place where two planes intersected, which defined the furniture’s structure.

ON VIEW in Modern Gallery 7

Markings unmarked

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2009.0944