Inspiration Friday: Eero Saarinen

by Nicole Hodsdon August 18, 2017

Inspiration Friday: Eero Saarinen

Photo: The Red List

Eero Saarinen is one of the most well known mid century designers - and for good reason.  The Finnish-born Saarinen is regarded as one of the masters of American 20th century furniture design as well as architecture.  He’s best known for his neofuturistic style, and his designs feature beautiful, bold curves and a pioneering use of materials.

Organic Chair

Photo: Architectural Association Collections

Saarinen started out designing furniture after receiving first prize in the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition in 1940.  He collaborated with Cranbrook Academy of Art student Charles Eames to create the chair in the photo above. His innovative, swanky furniture designs have become iconic for their curvy, mod lines and bright colors.  

Womb Chair

Photo: Knoll

His most famous furniture designs are both chairs: the Tulip Chair and the Womb Chair.  In these chairs, Saarinen used fiberglass which was a new material for furnishings.  Saarinen’s furniture designs and his innovative use of materials are continuing to inspire other designers to push the envelope of what’s possible to this day.

TWA Flight Center

Photo: The Red List

He’s probably best known for his bold and beautiful furniture designs, but his work as an architect is equally prolific.  His most recognizable building is probably the St. Louis Gateway Arch.  He’s also responsible for the TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport in New York.  His architectural designs showcase his neofuturistic expressionism in their physics-defying curved concrete shells and sweeping staircases.

Saarinen is one of the Mid Century masters for good reason.  His work achieved timeless appeal because of his innovative use of materials and vibrant, bold use of color and line.  At the same time futuristic, organic, and enveloping, a Saarinen-designed chair or building is as engaging today as it was 60 years ago.

Nicole Hodsdon
Nicole Hodsdon


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