On March 4th 2012 the Grassi Museum for Applied Arts Leipzig opened the final part of their permanent exhibition. An exhibition very close to our hearts. Now you know us, we 've nothing against baroque or ancient Japanese furniture and objects. But our hearts...
|Product type||Multi-purpose chair|
|Dimensions||Width: 49 cm
Height: 81 cm
Depth: 53 cm
Seat height: 49 cm
Pedestal: Cast aluminium with plastic cover
Upholstery: Fabric Tonus (90 % wool, 10 % Helanca) or Eva (velvet from 100 % cotton)
|Variants||Available with cushions or upholstered inner shell and seat cushion
Optionally available in a swivel version
Many more fabrics, leathers and colours available on request
|Identification||On the underside of the base, the "Knoll Studio" logo and the signature of Eero Saarinen are imprinted.|
|Awards & museum||Permanent collection, MoMA, New York|
|Product family||Saarinen Pedestal Collection
How do I recognise an original Saarinen Tulip Chair?
The Knoll logo and the signature of the designer are stamped on the underside of the base.
Designer Eero Saarinen was born in Kirkkonummi, Finland in 1910. As the son of an architect, he also studied architecture at Yale University in New Haven from 1934. After his studies he worked with his father and accepted a teaching assignment at the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan and where he met Charles Eames, whereupon one of the most successful design cooperations of the American post-war period originated. Both experimented with new furniture ideas and created their first designs from moulded plywood. The designers gained notoriety through the MoMA competition "Organic Design in Home Furnishings", which they won with their design of the Organic Chair produced today by Vitra. There followed many more designs by Eero Saarinen. Today, his creations are mainly produced by the American furniture manufacturer Knoll International, most notably the Pedestal Collection represents an important milestone in the history of design of the 1950s.
Knoll International was founded in 1938 by Hans Knoll and today has production sites in North America and Italy. Originally based in New York, the company relocated its production in early 1950 to Pennsylvania. After Hans Knoll's early death, his wife Florence Knoll took over the company, but six years later decided to retire from the board and act as an advisor. Today Knoll offers numerous products and services as part of the concepts "Knoll Studio" and "Knoll Office": Knoll Studio focuses on the development of furniture for private and public spaces, while Knoll Office specializes in innovative furniture and furniture systems for the project area. In addition to classics of modern design such as Saarinen's Tulip Table, Mies van der Rohe's furniture or Marcel Breuer's Wassily Chair, Knoll also produce contemporary design by renowned architects and designers such as Frank Gehry. Knoll design furniture is exhibited in numerous international design institutions, with alone the MoMA collection in New York hosting more than 30 objects from Knoll's portfolio.
The post-war years in the United States were defined by economic and sociocultural changes that had a significant impact on modernist design. Increasing technological progress has made it possible to streamline production processes and use new materials and processes. These developments played, for example, a central role in the work of Eero Saarinen. With the Organic Chair, Saarinen and Charles Eames wanted to create an ideal chair for mass production in 1940, using polyurethane foam for upholstery. Saarinen's Tulip Table is a great example of the vision of American design from the 1950s: around 1960, American post-war designers began to play with simple and geometric, almost rigid and cold forms. In this context, Saarinen rejected the geometric rigour of Bauhaus design and created works such as the Tulip Table as an expressive and sculptural product with soft and organic shapes. For this design, Saarinen reduced the table and chair to one foot and thus developed a new, accessible design. His creations are today among the true classics of design history.
The Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen was the first chair of the history of furniture design with only one leg - and is named on account of its silhouette which is reminiscent of the flower. Thus it can be said that the Knoll design "blooms" on a delicate stem and results in a formally restrained, aesthetically balanced seat. With its elegant and light form language, the Tulip is both modern and timeless and so it is perhaps no wonder that the Saarinen Tulip Chair became such an enduring design classic: it was pre-destined. For its creator, the architect and designer Eero Saarinen, the primary focus was the slim chassis, a design concept via which he aimed to reduce the clutter of table and chair legs to be found in American dining rooms. In addition to the one-legged Tulip Chair Saarinen also developed the matching Tulip Dining Table with pedestal. The entire Pedestal Collection, including the coffee and side tables, is distinguished by a unique organic elegance and an almost sculptural figure. The original Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair is only manufactured by Knoll International and confirmation of originality can be found in the engravings on the underside of the chair consisting of the Knoll logo and Eero Saarinen's signature. In 1969, the Tulip Chair received the Design Award of the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Federal Award for Industrial Design. These posthumous awards confirm Saarinen's role in the history of design.
The Pedestal Collection, consisting of various tables and chairs, has been produced by the American furniture manufacturer Knoll International for more than 50 years. The base of the Tulip Chair and the Tulip Armchairs is made of reinforced aluminium coated with Rilsan. The chairs are either static or rotatable and can be ordered in different colours. The fibreglass shell may be completely upholstered (backrest and seat) or partially padded. The fabrics Tonus and Eva are available in different colours, other fabrics are available on request from Knoll. Knoll's production facilities are located in North America, but also in Italy. Thanks to carefully selected materials, it is a particularly high-quality assortment. During the manufacturing process, the company strives to meet environmental standards and natural resources as much as possible, in particular by minimizing the production of industrial waste. The company has many years of experience in production, but also looks for innovative solutions to adapt to the development of materials, while maintaining the original concept.
More about 'Tulip chair' in our blog
August 20th marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Finnish architect/designer Eero Saarinen. Eero Saarinen had - in all probability - very little career choice other than that of architect: Not only was his father Eliel Saarinen one of Finland's most...