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These six chairs from the Tulip collection were designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll International. This iconic tulip pedestal set is designed by Eero Saarinen in the 1950s and it took him five years to arrive at this exact design. The chairs are designed to create peaceful interiors in which the legs of the furnishings did not obstruct viewing lines.
Knoll International was founded in New York by the 26 year old German Hans Knoll (1914-1955) in 1938. Hans' father, Walter Knoll was a true modernist and furniture manufacturer who had a reputation for quality. When Hans Knoll died at a young age his wife Florence Knoll took over and under her influence the company flourished and created its best designs. She designed and led the company where she cooperated with talented designers such as Eero Saarinen, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Richard Schultz and Harry Bertoia.
Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) was a Finnish-American architect who helped to shape the American postwar architecture of progression and optimism. Saarinen designed several airports and worked for large coorporate clients such as IBM and General Motors. This meant that the identity of Saarinen's architecture went hand in hand with the identity of these companies. His design was also used in many companies and homes and thus helped to shape the aesthetic landscape of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.
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Of the Period
Place of Origin
Date of Manufacture1958
WearWear consistent with age and use
Seat Height18.5 in. (47 cm)
Seller LocationWaalwijk, Netherlands
Number of Items6
About Eero Saarinen (Designer)
Through his work as an architect and designer, Eero Saarinen was a prime mover in the introduction of modernism into the American mainstream. Particularly affecting were the organic, curvilinear forms seen in Saarinen’s furniture and his best-known structures: the gull-winged TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy airport in New York (opened 1962), Dulles International Airport in Virginia (1962) and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri (1965).
Saarinen had a peerless modernist pedigree. His father, Eliel Saarinen, was an eminent Finnish architect who in 1932 became the first head of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Detroit. The school became synonymous with progressive design and decorative arts in the United States, and while studying there the younger Saarinen met and befriended several luminaries of mid-century modernism, among them Harry Bertoia, and Charles and Ray Eames.
At Cranbrook, Saarinen also met Florence Schust Knoll, who, as director of her husband Hans Knoll's eponymous furniture company, would put Saarinen’s best designs into production. These include the “Grasshopper” chair, designed in 1946 and so named because its angled bentwood frame resembles the insect; the “Tulip” chair (1958), a flower-shaped fiberglass shell mounted on a cast-aluminum pedestal; and the lushly contoured “Womb” lounge chair and ottoman (1948). In his furniture as in his architecture, the keynotes of Eero Saarinen’s designs are simplicity, strength and grace.
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