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Tulip Armchair
Iconic Designs

Tulip Armchair

About the Design

Eero Saarinen (1910–61) absolutely hated clutter. "The undercarriage of chairs and tables in a typical interior makes an ugly, confusing, unrestful world,” the Finnish-American architect and industrial designer once said. “I wanted to clear up the slum of legs.” With the Tulip armchair, he did just that, streamlining the standard four-legged piece into a graceful shape atop a single pedestal.

The 1956 design — which is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York — was one of Saarinen’s last; he died in 1961. Its sculptural shape displays the best of Saarinen, who referred to himself as a “form giver,” whether that form was a flower-shaped seat or the swooping curve of the Gateway Arch, a more than 600-foot-tall stainless-steel-clad concrete monument in St. Louis, Missouri, that he designed in the late 1940s. 

The Tulip chair collection was meant to complement Saarinen’s 1956 pedestal collection of side chairs, stools, dining tables and more — another exercise in simplifying. Both collections were designed for Knoll, which continues to produce them today. Visitors to the TWA Hotel, the 2019 reinvention of Saarinen’s iconic airport terminal, will find Tulip chairs dotting the structure.

Interestingly, the Tulip armchair’s shape suggests one single plastic form, but despite Saarinen’s many experiments to achieve this, it is actually constructed in two pieces: an aluminum frame obscured in a plastic finish and a fiberglass upper-shell seat. Two parts or one, it achieves Saarinen’s desired streamlined effect.

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Eero Saarinen Knoll MCM Tulip Dining Chairs with Two Captains Chairs, Set of 6
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Countryside, IL
Eero Saarinen for Knoll mid century tulip dining chairs with two captains chairs - set of 6 The captains chair measures: 25.75 wide x 24 deep x 32 high, with a seat height of 18 i...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Metal

Eero Saarinen ‘Tulip’ Armchair in Black Leather
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Eero Saarinen for Knoll, 'Tulip' armchair, fiberglass, aluminum and leather, United States, 1955-56. This armchair with patinated black leather is from the 'Tulip' collection and ...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Aluminum

Knoll Eero Saarinen Swivel Tulip Chair
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This vintage armchair from the 'Tulip' collection was designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll International is in great condition and has a newly upholstered seat cushion. This iconic tu...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Metal

Knoll Tulip Dining Set by Eero Saarinen 1960s Large Marble Table Armchairs
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Ijzendijke, NL
Magnificent fully original tulip dining set designed by Eero Saarinen and produced by Knoll International in the 1960s. The set consists of 6 original marked tulip armchairs and the ...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Sets

Materials

Carrara Marble, Aluminum

Set of Eight (8) Tulip Chairs by Eero Saarinen for Knoll
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Sagaponack, NY
A rare grouping of eight (8) iconic Tulip swiveling dining chairs by Eero Saarinen featuring the Classic organic sculptural form and orange wool upholstery on white enameled cast iro...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Iron

Eero Saarinen 'Tulip' Armchair in Blue Upholstery
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Eero Saarinen for Knoll, 'Tulip' armchair, fiberglass, aluminum and fabric, United States, 1955-56. This armchair with blue fabric seat is from the 'Tulip' collection and was desi...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Aluminum

Tulip Armchair by Eero Saarinen
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Sagaponack, NY
A Mid-Century Modern dining chair designed by Eero Saarinen. This chair features an upholstered seat on a white enameled cast iron pedestal base. Upholstery varies. Manufactured by K...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Acrylic, Upholstery

Eero Saarinen Early Tulip Armchair 150 and Sidechair 151 for Knoll International
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Munster, NRW
The design classic of the modern age in a very early version. The leather cushions were newly made. The three armchairs can be turned the sidechair is fixed. Frame: cast light meta...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

6 Eero Saarinen Knoll Swivel Tulip Chairs
By Eero Saarinen
Located in Phoenix, AZ
An iconic set of six fiberglass Tulip armchairs by Eero Saarinen for Knoll circa early 1970’s. These armchairs feature reupholstered bright daffodil yellow vinyl seat cushions. The c...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Upholstery, Fiberglass

Eero Saarinen, Set of 4 Tulip Chair by Knoll International in Turquoise-Blue
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Munster, NRW
We offer here 4 virtually new tulip chairs by Eero Saarinen, all swivel - with incredibly beautiful turquoise-blue leather. Produced by Knoll International. The complete set was onl...
Category

Vintage 1950s German Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Leather

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