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Eero Saarinen

Kirkkonummi 1910 - 1961


The Finnish architect and designer Eero Saarinen, son of the architect Eliel Saarinen, was born in 1910. In 1923 the family emigrated to the US. In 1929-30 Eero Saarinen studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière before studying architecture at Yale in New Haven until 1934. A Yale scholarship enabled Eero Saarinen to travel to Europe again but he returned to the US in 1936 to work in his father's architectural practice. Eero Saarinen also took up a teaching appointment at the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, of which Eliel Saarinen had been head since the Academy was founded in 1932.
When his father died in 1950, Eero Saarinen took over his practice, running it as Saarinen & Associates in Birmingham until 196. At Cranbrook Academy, Eero Saarinen met Charles Eames in the late 1930s. Experimenting with Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen co-developed new furniture forms and the first designs for furniture of molded laminated wood. In 1940 Saarinen and Eames took part in the "Organic design in Home Furnishings" competition mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
While Charles Eames continued to work on molded furniture in plywood, Eero Saarinen later chose other materials. For Knoll International, Eero Saarinen designed a great many pieces of furniutre, including the 1946-47 "Grasshopper" armchair with bent armrests of laminated wood. In 1947-48 Eero Saarinen designed the "Womb" collection, which was supposed, as the name suggests, to make those seated on it feel as secure and cozy as a fetus in the womb. The "Pedestal Group", dating from 1955-56, is an Eero Saarinen collection of chairs and tables made of plastic and featuring only one central leg ending organically in a round disc on the floor. The "Tulip chair" also belonged to this group, with which Eero Saarinen wanted to abolish the "miserable maze of legs".
In 1951 he designed the "Saarinen Collection" for Knoll, consisting of several office chairs, one of the first lines in designer office furniture.
Eero Saarinen's architectural masterpiece is the signature TWA-Terminal at J.F. Kennedy Airport in New York (1956-52). Between 1958 and 1963 Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, designed by Eero Saarinen before his death in 1961, was under construction.


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