Monday, August 4, 2014

History of Furniture: The Tulip Collection by Eero Saarinen

Finnish American designer and architect Eero Saarinen is perhaps most famous for his design, which was created with structural engineer Hannskarl Bandel, of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, more commonly known as the St. Louis Arch.

But within the sphere of interiors and furniture design, he created one of the most iconic mid-century furniture collections, The Tulip Group (also known as The Pedestal Collection). In 1955, Saarinen set out to design a collection of furniture that would eliminate, as he put it, "the slum of legs" found under ordinary four-legged pieces. His training as a sculptor and architect helped him develop a concept that was clean and spare. The chair is named for the tulip because of its similarity to the flower.

Made of cast aluminum and fiberglass, the design is sleek and utterly modern. In fact, the chair was adapted for use as seating (with a modified back) on the bridge of the Enterprise on the original "Star Trek" television series!

The collection also features a table (which comes in varying dimensions), a stool, and a side table.

Although its origins are Mid-Century Modern, the chair can look good when paired with other, unexpected styles (see my "Contrast brings interest" post)!

The chair is available from Knoll.

Happy designing!

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