Eero Saarinen for Knoll Womb Chair
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Eero Saarinen for Knoll Womb Chair
- DimensionsHeight: 35.5 in. (90.17 cm)Width: 40 in. (101.6 cm)Length: 35.5 in. (90.17 cm)
- StyleMid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
- Materials and Techniques
- Place of Origin
- Date of Manufacture1960
- Seller LocationChicago, IL
- Reference Number1stDibs: LU150129666071
About the 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 (1957), 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.
About the Manufacturer
As a company that produced many of the most famous and iconic furniture designs of the 20th century, Knoll was a chief influence in the rise of modern design in the United States. Led by Florence Knoll, the firm would draw stellar talents such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen into its compass. Their work would help change the face of the American home and office.
The company was formed in 1938 by the German immigrant Hans Knoll. He first worked with his fellow ex-pat, the Danish designer Jens Risom, who created furniture with flowing lines made of wood. While Risom served in World War II, in 1943 Knoll met his future wife, Florence Schust. She had studied and worked with eminent emigré leaders of the Bauhaus, including Mies, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. She won Knoll over with Bauhaus notions of industrial arts, and an aesthetic that featured flat and tubular metal frames and angular forms. When Hans died in a car crash in 1955, Florence Knoll was appointed head of the company. It was as much through her holistic approach to design — a core division of the firm was dedicated to planning office systems — as Knoll's mid-century modern furnishings themselves that she brought about the sleek and efficient transformation of the American workplace.
Today, classic Knoll furnishings remain staples of modern design collections and decor. A history of modern design is written in pieces such as the elegant Barcelona chair — created by Mies and Lilly Reich — Saarinen’s pedestal Tulip chair, Breuer’s tubular steel Wassily lounge chair and the grid-patterned Diamond chair by Harry Bertoia.
As you can see from the collection of these designs and other vintage Knoll dining chairs, sofas and tables on 1stDibs, this manufacturer's offerings have become timeless emblems of the progressive spirit and sleek sophistication of the best of modernism.
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