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Tulip Armless Chair
Iconic Designs

Tulip Armless Chair

About the Design

With his iconic Tulip collection, architect and designer Eero Saarinen (1910–61) vowed to “clear up the slum of legs,” as he described the visual clutter resulting from traditional furniture frames in a 1956 TIME magazine cover story. Central to this endeavor is the Pedestal table, whose round top on a slender, graceful pedestal would become a near ubiquitous — and oft-imitated — form. The Tulip armchair and the Tulip armless chair continue this streamlining in Saarinen’s modern, space-age aesthetic.

With its simplified silhouette and fiberglass body, the armless chair is at once elegant and industrial, a feat that Saarinen continually mastered in works ranging from furniture to architecture (think the St. Louis Arch and the TWA Terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, which has reopened as a hotel). The designer originally tried to cast the entire seat in fiberglass, pushing the envelope of modern furniture production, but, to ensure stability, he eventually settled on a cast-aluminum base and fiberglass seat. In 1957, the chair was put into production through Knoll — Saarinen knew pioneering American designer Florence Knoll from his days at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he taught and took on design projects for the school. It has remained one of the legendary firm’s most popular seats ever since.

Given its sculptural shape, the Tulip armless chair can be paired with a Saarinen table for a wholly modern dining set — as it appears throughout the TWA Hotel — or hold its own as a side or accent chair, a popular touch by top residential designers today. The Velcro-attached seat cushion is available in over a dozen upholstery options, though the thoroughly space-age cherry red is undoubtedly the most famous.

Tulip Armless Chair

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Knoll Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair
By Knoll, Herman Miller, Eero Saarinen
Located in Los Angeles, CA
This vintage chair 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 tulip...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Fabric, Upholstery, Fiberglass, Foam, Lacquer, Paint

Six Eero Saarinen for Knoll Tulip Group Dining Chairs with Red Cushions
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Ferndale, MI
Very clean original set of six Tulip group chairs. Designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll.
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chairs with Custom Shearling Cushions, Set of 6
By Eero Saarinen
Located in SAINT LOUIS, MO
It took Saarinen five years to arrive at this exact design. The iconic Tulip chairs were envisioned to create peaceful interiors in which the legs of the furnishings did not obstruct...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Sheepskin, Fiberglass

Eero Saarinen Set of Six Tulip Swivel Chairs Original Leather Seats, Knoll 1970s
By Eero Saarinen
Located in Vienna, AT
Eero Saarinen set of six tulip swivel chairs original leather seats, Knoll, 1970s. Signed Knoll.
Category

Vintage 1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Leather, Fiberglass

Eero Saarinen et Edition Knoll Set of 2 Swiveling Tulip Chairs, 1956
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Saint-Ouen, FR
Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) et Edition Knoll Set of 2 swiveling tulip chairs 2 chaises modèle tulipe Brightness and repainted on feet On request re-upholstery is possible in any kind o...
Category

Vintage 1970s European Scandinavian Modern Chairs

Materials

Fiberglass

Eero Saarinen Set of Six Tulip Armless Swivel Chairs, Leather Seats, Knoll 1970s
By Eero Saarinen, Knoll
Located in Vienna, AT
Vintage Eero Saarinen set of six tulip armless swivel chairs with grey leather seats, Knoll, 1970s. Signed: Knoll.
Category

Vintage 1970s North American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Beech

Design Classic Tulip Side Chairs by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, 1960s, Set of 5
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Renens, CH
Set of five “Pedestal” side chairs designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll; they have been produced in Switzerland during the 1970 and come with re-upholstered mint-green velour cushions...
Category

Vintage 1970s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Set of 6 Early Swivel 'Tulip' Chairs by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, 1960s
By Eero Saarinen
Located in SITTARD, LI
Iconic set of 6 Tulip chairs designed by Eero Saarinen and produced by Knoll in the early 1960s. These chairs are early editions with swivel function. Aluminum base with a fibergla...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Aluminum

Important Early Tilt Swivel Tulip Desk Chairs by Eero Saarinen for Knoll
By Knoll, Eero Saarinen
Located in Buffalo, NY
Important early Knoll tilt swivel tulip top task chair, Eero Saarinen. I believe this chair was only in production for one year. Produced in very limited quantity. Stylized cast stee...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Swivel Chairs

Materials

Steel

Eero Saarinen, Set of 4 Fully Upholstered Tulip Chairs by Knoll International
By Eero Saarinen
Located in Berlin, DE
We offer here 4 beautiful fully upholstered tulip chairs by Eero Saarinen: - all swivel - with incredibly beautiful Hallingdal-red. - black lacquered fiberglass shell - base...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

Vintage Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen
By Eero Saarinen
Located in Soesterberg, UT
Vintage tulip chair by Eero Saarinen Chair model 'Tulip' clear white metal with a finish. Fixed shell is filled with an updated, removable cushion with an Space Age fabric. The '...
Category

Vintage 1950s German Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

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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...
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