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Knoll Designer Bios

Robert Venturi

b. USA, 1925

A maverick of 20th century architecture, Robert Venturi delights in design that is purely decorative. Venturi studied architecture at Princeton University, graduating summa cum laude in 1947, and earned his M.F.A. there in 1950. The recipient of a Prix de Rome, he continued his education at the American Academy there, studying and touring throughout Europe for two years.

Venturi found his other half, both professional and personal, in architect Denise Scott Brown. After marrying in 1967, Scott Brown joined Venturi and John Rauch, becoming partner in charge of planning in 1969. From there, they electrified the postmodern movement with controversial writings and buildings that challenged the modernist rejection of ornamentation and introduced whimsy and wit into what they felt had become an overly severe discipline.

The collection of chairs, tables and sofa created for Knoll in the 1980s by Venturi served as a physical statement of their willingness to reference and indulge in the more traditionally ornate styles of design. The chairs exemplified Venturi’s fascination with the façade; the idea that period styling could be applied for purely decorative purposes to a more functionalist frame. Breaking down barriers between traditional and modern design, Venturi’s collection incorporated a wide range of major historical furniture styles such as, Chippendale, Queen Anne, Empire, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Biedermeier, Gothic Revival, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco.