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Saarinen Executive Armless Chair
Iconic Designs

Saarinen Executive Armless Chair

About the Design

With the founding of the Knoll Planning Unit at Knoll Associates in 1946, the modern open-plan office was born. Soon after the launch of the internationally celebrated design firm’s workplace-focused division, the Saarinen Executive Armless chair would emerge as one of its seating staples. A departure from more rigid office seating, the 1950 design by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen (1910–61) offered some of the comfort of his 1948 Womb chair in a more formal shape. Nicknamed “that chair with the hole in the back” for its sculptural seat back, it fit easily into mid-century boardrooms and corporate cafeterias as part of the harmonious interiors designed by Florence Knoll, a legendary figure in mid-century modernism.

Saarinen and Knoll met while they were studying at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where Saarinen’s father, Eliel, was dean. Their lifelong friendship led to some of the most revered designs of the 20th century. Like his work in architecture, from the Gateway Arch to the TWA Flight Center, Saarinen’s furniture used innovations in postwar materials to create dynamic volumes. The Executive Armless chair expanded on Saarinen’s ergonomic experiments in molded plywood furniture that he had designed in collaboration with fellow Cranbrook alumnus Charles Eames (with assistance from Ray Eames), work which had been honored in the Museum of Modern Art’s Organic Design Competition.

The chairs introduced as the 71 and 72 Series found their initial multipurpose use in the Knoll office interiors but soon were popular in home dining rooms and living spaces. Knoll, Inc. continues to produce the Saarinen Executive Armless chair, with options updating the design’s original fiberglass form including an exposed plastic back or upholstered polyurethane shell joined by a contoured plywood seat and sturdy legs in steel or wood.

Executive Armless Chair

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Pair of Eero Saarinen Executive Chairs by Knoll / Nordiska Kompaniet, 1960s
By Eero Saarinen, NK (Nordiska Kompaniet)
Located in Uppsala, SE
Pair of Eero Saarinen executive chairs by Nordiska Kompaniet under license from Knoll International Ltd. These examples were produced in 1962. They still have their original grey/bla...
Category

Mid-20th Century Swedish Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Metal

Pair of Eero Saarinen Conference Chairs, Knoll International
By Eero Saarinen
Located in Berlin, Berlin
A pair of conference chairs designed by Eero Saarinen. U.S.A., Knoll International, circa 1970. The conference chair, no. 72 with chrome plated metal frame and new velvet covered ...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Metal

Eero Saarinen Conference Chair, Knoll International
By Eero Saarinen
Located in Berlin, Berlin
A conference chairs designed by Eero Saarinen. U.S.A., Knoll International, circa 1970. The conference chair, no. 72 with chrome-plated metal frame and new velvet covered seat and...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Metal

Pair of Knoll Saarinen Side Chairs
By Eero Saarinen
Located in Pasadena, TX
Pair of Knoll 72C Saarinen executive armless side chairs Upholstered in red Knoll Bouclé. Chrome legs. Measures: 22.5" W x 20.5" D x 31.5" 18.75" SH.   
Category

Late 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Saarinen Executive Armless Chairs in Dove Luxe Suede by Eero Saarinen for Knoll
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Wilton, CT
We have been restoring Saarinen executive chairs for years in every fabric one can imagine, right in our very own workroom. Skilled craftsmen bring each chair back to life to live on...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Ch...

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Saarinen Executive Armless Chairs in Navy Velvet, Obsidian Matte, Set of 6
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Wilton, CT
We have been restoring Saarinen executive chairs for years in every fabric one can imagine, right in our very own workroom. Skilled craftsmen bring each chair back to life to live on...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

Saarinen Executive Armless Chairs in Celadon Velvet, 24k Gold Edition, Set of 6
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Wilton, CT
The next generation of Eero Saarinen's famed executive chairs have arrived, 100% authentic Eero Saarinen for Knoll executive chairs completely restored ground-up with an extra touch ...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Gold Plate, Steel

Saarinen Executive Armless Chairs in Emerald Velvet, 24k Gold Edition, Set of 6
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Wilton, CT
The next generation of Eero Saarinen's famed executive chairs have arrived, 100% authentic Eero Saarinen for Knoll Executive chairs completely restored ground-up with an extra touch ...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel, Gold Plate

Saarinen Executive Armless Chairs in Navy Velvet, Obsidian Matte
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Wilton, CT
We have been restoring Saarinen Executive Chairs for years in every fabric one can imagine, right in our very own workroom. Skilled craftsmen bring each chair back to life to live on...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

Eero Saarinen Armless Executive Chair for Knoll Associates Model 72 Red Vinyl
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Chicago, IL
This Eero Saarinen armless executive desk chair, side chair, or dining chair for Knoll Associates retains its original upholstery. The lipstick red vinyl is nicely offset by the chro...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Saarinen Executive Side Chair with Metal Legs for Knoll
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Glendale, CA
Saarinen Executive side chair with metal legs for Knoll. Originally designed in 1946, this late 1990s / early 2000s edition is executed in green and white with Knoll manufacturer's s...
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Pair of Mid-Century Modern Executive Armless Chairs Created by Eero Saarinen
By Eero Saarinen
Located in San Antonio, TX
Pair of Mid-Century Modern executive armless chairs created by Eero Saarinen and manufactured by Knoll. Like new with white polycarbonate back and sassy multicolored geometric uphols...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Materials

Chrome

Early Version of Eero Saarinen Side or Desk Chair for Knoll
By Eero Saarinen
Located in St. Louis, MO
Early version of Eero Saarinen side chair for Knoll with early label. This version has aluminum legs and early base configuration, unlike the later segmented legs. Chair should be re...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

The Executive Series