"A Structure of Beauty,
Utility and Permanence"

A Custom Knoll Cabinet for the Heinz Company

The present lot is from the Riley Research Center, which was designed in 1958 by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, as part of the H.J. Heinz Company complex in Pittsburgh. The center was built in the gleaming International Style, with a glass and aluminum façade; the interiors were designed by Florence Knoll and the Knoll Planning Unit to match the exterior's elegance. 

The Riley Research Center, designed by Gordon Bunshaft, 1958

This floating cabinet, with a Calcutta marble slab top, is a non-production piece, created custom for Jack Heinz's sixth-floor office suite. It is shown in the picture of the office below, mounted to the wall behind the table. The building has undergone numerous renovations over the years and this piece is one of the few that has survived from the original Knoll interiors.

Jack Heinz's office, featuring the present lot (partially visible) on the far wall, behind the dining set.

Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll (née Florence Schust) was born in Michigan in 1917. As a child, she was enrolled in the Kingswood School, a division of the Cranbrook School of Art. Eliel and Loja Saarinen, parents of architect Eero Saarinen, quickly noted her talents, and she became a close friend of the family often joining them on vacations to their summer home in Finland. In 1935, Knoll studied urban planning at Columbia University and continued her degree at the Architectural Association of London from 1938 to 1939. World War II brought Knoll back to the United States where she finished her degree in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago studying under Mies van der Rohe. After graduating, Knoll moved to Massachusetts to work in the office of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer.

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Auction Results Florence Knoll