Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dallas Tout Ensemble

In the late 1940s, the modern design firm Knoll began to establish its Dallas showroom located at 2909 Fairmount Street, then a residential district. Designed by Florence Knoll Bassett (born 1917), the showroom utilized a preexisting "Texas-Colonial" structure modified with enlarged showroom windows. Knoll opted to paint the structure black, added a white roof, and incorporated a Knoll-red door emblazoned with the firm's name in distinctive slab-serif capitals. Chicagoans architect Robert Bruce Tague (1912-1985) and photographer Arthur S. Siegel (1913-1978) contributed artworks for the front room, which was organized as a conversational grouping. Knoll adopted bold contrasts of black, yellow and gray that was meant to attract passing motorists (lower image).

Want to see/read more? Consult:

Bassett, Florence Knoll. Papers. Smithsonian Archives of American Art. Series 5: Subject Files, circa 1930s-1999. Box 3, Folder 11. URL:

"Famous Designers Visiting Dallas." Dallas Morning News 29 July 1956.

"Firm Plans Branch Here." Dallas Morning News 29 January 1950.

"Outpost in Dallas: Knoll opens a Lone Star Branch." Knoll Showroom in Dallas. New York: Knoll, n.d. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. [Images above are by Arthur S. Siegel for Knoll and from this publication]

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