While a student at the Kingswood School on the campus of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Florence Knoll Bassett (nee Schust) became a protege of Eero Saarinen. She studied architecture at Cranbrook, the Architectural Association in London and the Armour Institute (Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago). She worked briefly for Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Wallace K. Harrison.
In 1946, she became a full business and design partner and married Hans Knoll, after which they formed Knoll Associates. She was at once a champion of world-class architects and designers and an exceptional architect in her own right.