“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.”
Universally acknowledged as a master of 20th Century architecture, Eero Saarinen’s prodigious accomplishments must be considered monumental in light of a life cut short at just 51. The Finnish born Saarinen, created dramatic built works—the TWA Terminal at JFK airport in New York; Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC; and the St. Louis Arch—that reflected Neo-Futurism’s embrace of new technology and its potential for creating a more engaging world. Saarinen’s furniture designs—like his elegant pedestal-based Tulip collection, and the sculptural Womb Chair—pieces created for Knoll, are ubiquitous symbols of Mid-Century industrial design, arguably more famous than his buildings, and no less revolutionary.
The son of the revered Finnish architect and urban planner Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen studied architecture in Paris and at Yale, but a teaching position at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield, Michigan, led to a pair of legendary collaborations. Together with Charles Eames, whose interest in new technologies rivaled his own, Saarinen’s experiments with molded plywood resulted in a first-place award for the duo in the Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition held by the Museum of Modern Art in 1940; while his relationships with Cranbrook associates, Hans and Florence Knoll, began a storied partnership that lasted until his death.