Eero Saarinen Design Archive

Eero Saarinen Design Archive

The Yale University online-archives contains many great images relating to the prolific career of Finnish-American architect and designer Eero Saarinen (1910-1961). Their collection contains items from his career both as an architect and industrial designer. Below is a selection of images relating to his work with Knoll.
Saarinen's development sketches for the Pedestal "Tulip" Chairs
More design sketches for the Pedestal Group
 Various models created during the design development stages of the "Tulip" Pedestal Chairs.

Design meeting between Florence Knoll and Saarinen.
Early prototype of the Pedestal Chair.
Knoll's official invite to the first public showing of Saarinen's Pedestal Group in March 1958.
 An early prototype for another Saarinen masterpiece, the Womb Chair / Model No. 70. c. 1947

Prototype of the Womb Chair with exposed formed plywood shell, c. 1947
Eero and his second wife Aline putting the Knoll Model No 70, Womb Chair to use
Unique example of the Grasshopper Chair with webbing à la Jens Risom chairs. c. 1946

Saarinen relaxing in his Grasshopper Chair, Model No 61U; the first piece he designed for Knoll.
Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen (pictured above) took first prize for their "Organic Chair," which they designed for the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition held by MOMA of New York in 1940.
Award winning Organic Chair (left) on display at the MOMA, 1941-42.
Organic Design in Home Furnishings exhibition book cover, 1941.
Vitra Design Museum's reissue of the award winning Organic Chair. via Vitra
Aline and Eero Saarinen relax while sailing, c. 1954-57. via Archives of American Art.
Eero Saarinen (1910-1961), c. 1950. via Archives of American Art
General Information:
Designer: Eero Saarinen
Birth: August 20, 1910 in Kirkkonummi, Finland
Death: September 1, 1961 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 51 years old.
Education: Studied furniture and sculpture at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. Graduated from Yale School of Architecture in 1934. 
Points of Interest:
  • Eero took first place in a matchstick design contest at the age of 12; a sign of things to come.
  • During WWII, Saarinen created illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals and provide designs for the White House's Situation Room.
  • He designed a hockey rink for Yale University known as Ignalls Rink (1953), nicknamed the "Yale Whale" due to its shape. This is a great building and is worth a look!
  • The Tulip Chairs were used on the "bridge" of the original 1960's Star Trek television show.
  • He was still working for his father in 1948, when he took first prize in the competition for the design of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis.
  • Saarinen died while undergoing an operation for a brain tumor. Strangely his wife Aline also died from a brain tumor at age 58! 
Related Links:
Go to- Yale University archives; search results for "Saarinen furniture"
Go to- Eero Saarinen's Wikipedia page
Go to- Page on Eero at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial website
Go to- Collection of Eero related images at the Archives of American Art
Go to- Aline and Eero Saarinen papers collection 1906-1977 at the Archives of American Art 
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