THE SUNDAY CLASSICS: EERO SAARINEN
Eero Saarinen is one of the iconic designers of the mid century. His elegant pieces are much sought after. His most famous design is probably the iconic tulip table. I'm so excited that it is going to be a focal point in our Little Venice dining room project. Its an elegant sculptural piece which is timeless and worth the investment. As they saying goes "Buy cheap, buy twice".
A little about the man himself...
Eero Saarinen was an architect and industrial designer renowned for his neo-futuristic style. He was one of the leaders in a trend toward exploration and experiment in American architectural design. Saarinen was born on August 20, 1910 in Finland. Eero Saarinen is the son of Eliel Saarinen who was a prominent architect and his mother Loja Saarinen was a gifted sculptor and photographer. In 1923, the family immigrated to the United States and settled in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
His father was dean of the Cranbrook Academy of Art where Saarinen learned about sculpture and furniture design. Eero Saarinen won first place in a matchstick design contest at the age of 12, in 1922. He studied more in sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, France. He then went to study at the Yale School of Architecture and completed his studies in 1934.
In 1940, Saarinen received his first critical recognition for designing a chair together with Charles Eames at the 'Organic Design in Home Furnishings' competition and they were awarded first prize. Saarinen worked with his father on a number of projects for the firm 'Saarinen, Swansen and Associates'. He got his prime opportunity to establish himself as an independent architect when he entered the architectural competition for 'Jefferson National Expansion Memorial' in 1947. He was successful in his approach and won the first prize for which he was widely recognized.
Eero Saarinen is also well known for designing chairs. The "Tulip" chair designed by Saarinen was one of the first chairs to be taken into production by the Knoll furniture company. It was designed as a chair to match the complementary dining table having smooth lines of modernism. This was a big success and the chair is considered a classic of industrial design. The "Grasshopper" lounge chair & ottoman (1946) and the "Womb" chair & ottoman (1948) are two other notable design during his long association with Knoll.
Saarinen was invited by many major American corporations such including John Deere, IBM and CBS to design their new headquarters and other corporate buildings. He began to receive more commissions from American universities for campus designs and individual buildings. Some of his notable works are - the Noyes dormitory at Vassar, Hill College House at the University of Pennsylvania, Morse College at Yale University, the MIT Chapel and Kresge Auditorium at MIT.
After his father's death Saarinen founded his own architect office, 'Eero Saarinen and Associates' in July 1950. Some of the most reputable works conducted by this firm are the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the Miller House, the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport and the main terminal of Dulles International Airport. Sadly, Eero Saarinen died at the age of 51 while undergoing an operation for a brain tumor. He is buried at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery in Michigan.