Florence Knoll was born in Michigan in 1917, from an early interest in architecture she attended the Kingswood School for Girls. The school was opposite from the Cranbrook Academy, attended by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. Well-received by the Saarinen family, Knoll joined the academy; she was taught by Eilel Saarinen and exposed to international modernism forerunners, including Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius.
Knoll moves to New York City in 1941 and meets Hans Knoll, who has established a furniture manufacturer. The couple then marry in 1946. She created designs for her husband's company as well as introducing modern designers such as Eero Saarinen.