In My Own Little Corner

Florence Knoll Bassett, CBS, 1954

I have a horrible guilty pleasure, Tabitha’s Salon Takeover. I stumbled across it over the holiday break and was riveted. There’s something wonderful about unruly and terrible business owners going head to head (no pun intended) with the hard-boiled, no nonsense Tabitha Coffey. Strangely, I think I’ve gotten some good advice from her show. Typically she visits a salon that has awful management, out of control hair stylists, and filthy working environments. I’m pretty sure we’re decent at management, and everyone on my staff is smarter than I am, but the office was starting to look a little ragged. We’ve been in this space for 10 years and the carpet shows it. I suggested today that a section by the kitchen looked like someone threw up and then walked away. Of course, everyone denied this, and then it might have been me. So we’ve decided to freshen things up.

I immediately thought about Florence Knoll’s designs for CBS in 1954. My office should look like this, but it would mean moving everyone out of the space except me.  Florence Knoll is an American furniture designer who studied at Cranbrook and worked with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. She was instrumental in the hiring of architects to design furniture. Her work is minimal and rigorous. The construction is more closely related to Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building than traditional furniture. The materials are what they are: metal, wood, simple textiles. Somehow all of this combines to create a harmonious effect. But, I don’t think I’ll be getting my 1954 CBS executive office. I get to keep my Knoll lounge chair, but nobody is willing to move their desks into the storage room.

Florence Knoll Bassett, CBS, 1954

Florence Knoll Bassett, General Life Insurance Company, 1954

Florence Knoll Bassett, Knoll Showroom, 1955

Florence Knoll Bassett, Knoll Showroom

Florence Knoll Bassett, CB Credenza, 1954

Florence Knoll Bassett, Lounge Chair

my little corner