Eero Saarinen (1910-1961)

“Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”Eero Saarinen, Finnish American architect and industrial designer

Eero Saarinen
Eero Saarinen

image source: https://www.curbed.com/2016/6/22/12005822/eero-saarinen-designs-cia-oss-files


About his life

Eero Saarinen(born Aug. 20, 1910, Kirkkonummi, Fin.—died Sept. 1, 1961, Ann Arbor, Mich., U.S.), Finnish-born American architect who was one of the leaders in a trend toward exploration and experiment in American architectural design during the 1950s.


info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Eero-Saarinen

image source: https://www.knoll.com/designer/Eero-Saarinen

Born to world famous parents, architect and Cranbrook Academy of Art director Eliel Saarinen and textile artist Loja Saarinen, Eero Saarinen was surrounded by design his whole life. A schoolmate and great friend of Florence Schust, it was an obvious choice for her to invite Eero to design for Knoll when she joined the company in the 1940s. His impact on Knoll and the discipline of furniture design would be hard to overstate.

info source: https://www.knoll.com/shop/by-designer/eero-saarinen

Eero Saarinen with model and sketches of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch), St. Louis, MO, ca. 1958.
Eero Saarinen with model and sketches of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch), St. Louis, MO, ca. 1958.

image source: https://www.knoll.com/designer/Eero-Saarinen

What are the main features of Saarinen’s style?

He invented new vocabularies for each product, adapting himself to his clients’ demands. Refusing simplistic and abstract architectures, he favoured ostentatious effects. However his furniture featured unpretentious forms blending organic and technological inspirations.

Womb Chair. sketch, 1947
Womb Chair. sketch, 1947

image source: https://theredlist.com/wiki-2-18-393-1387-view-scandinavian-modernism-profile-saarinen-eero-6.html

Eero Saarinen seated in a prototype of his Womb Chair. 1947
Eero Saarinen seated in a prototype of his Womb Chair. 1947

image source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Eero-Saarinen

Eero Saarinen took full advantage of contemporary advances in industrial manufacturing and materials, which enabled the sculptural, dynamic forms that mark some of the Finnish architect’s most recognizable pieces of furniture (Womb Chair, Tulip Chair) and buildings (TWA Terminal, Gateway Arch). In furniture, bent plywood and heavy plastics provided the figurative clay that he found, on the scale of a building, in poured concrete and steel.
While Saarinen saw architecture and furniture design as posing unique sets of challenges and solutions, he had an all-embracing notion of the totality of design.

info source: https://www.knoll.com/knollnewsdetail/eero-saarinen-architecture-furniture

What are his most famous works?

ARCHITECTURE
Saarinen’s works, like the St. Louis Gateway Arch and TWA Terminal, often are very sculptural and structurally adventurous, defying our expectations of how they must stand up. They also exploit the possibilities of modern materials – particularly concrete – and engineering know-how to the fullest extent.
Gateway Arch , St. Louis, Missouri
Gateway Arch , St. Louis, Missouri
image source: http://openbuildings.com/buildings/gateway-arch-profile-12469
Saarinen’s buildings, including the Ingalls Ice Rink and CBS Building, tend to resonate with familiar themes within human experience, evoking relationships with structures and environments that may at first be unexpected, but harmonize well with their purposes upon further exploration.
info source: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-saarinen-eero.htm
Ingalls Ice Rink, 1958
Ingalls Ice Rink, 1958
image source: http://www.archdaily.com/157708/ad-classics-david-s-ingalls-skating-rink-eero-saarinen/5107fb8ab3fc4b2720000088-ad-classics-david-s-ingalls-skating-rink-eero-saarinen-image
FURNITURE
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:
  • Grasshopper” chair, designed in 1946;
  • Tulip” chair (1958), a flower-shaped fiberglass shell mounted on a cast-aluminum pedestal;
  • Womb” lounge chair and ottoman (1948).
Saarinen's revolutionary Pedestal Collection debuted in 1958
Saarinen’s revolutionary Pedestal Collection debuted in 1958

image source: https://www.knoll.com/designer/Eero-Saarinen

In his furniture as in his architecture, the keynotes of Eero Saarinen’s designs are simplicity, strength and grace.

info source: https://www.1stdibs.com/creators/eero-saarinen/furniture/?content=expanded

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