Eero Saarinen was a Finnish architect who is famous for designing public spaces, including the Gateway Arch and TWA Flight Center. His works grace the pages of practically every architecture textbook, a testament to his revolutionary designs and neo-futuristic style. Saarinen studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, which influenced the curves and lines found in his works.
Saarinen designed the Tulip Armchair in 1955. Much like his buildings, the Tulip Armchair has smooth, seamless lines and curves. The chair is made from a cast aluminum base, with a one-piece molded fiberglass upper section.
Put off by the slum of legs under every table created by traditional four-legged chairs, I wanted to design a chair as an integrated whole once again. All important furniture of the past always had a holistic structure, from King Tut’s chair to that of Thomas Chippendale.
Drawing on his early training as a sculptor, Saarinen refined his design through full scale models, endlessly modifying the shape with clay. “What interests me is when and where to use these structural plastic shapes. Probing even more deeply into different possibilities one finds many different shapes are equally logical—some ugly, some exciting, some earthbound, some soaring. The choices really become a sculptor’s choice.”