Florence Knoll (born Florence Schust, 1917-2019), designer and entrepreneur, played a fundamental role in the development of twentieth-century American design. She was orphaned at an early age, she immediately showed a strong passion for architecture, to the point of attracting the interest of the famous architect Eliel Saarinen. Eliel was the director of the renowned Cranbrook Academy and took her to study with him, becoming almost a second father for her. Eero Saarinen, son of Eliel, became a close friend of her and introduced her to the world of furniture design. After working for Marcel Bruer and Walter Gropius, two fundamental figures of the Bauhaus movement who profoundly influenced her aesthetics, Florence met and married Hans Knoll. Hans was the son of the famous German furniture industrialist Walter Knoll and had moved to the United States to found his own company, Knoll Inc., of which Florence became a partner and for which she took care of interior design. Florence, soon widowed, became the driving force of the company and led it to become the international giant appreciated today more than ever. The Knoll Planning Unit, directed by her, built the offices of dozens of large companies and popularized in America the peculiar reading of the modernist style, in which the rigor of the lines is softened by the use of colored fabrics and organic shapes.