(1910 - 1961)
The son of the great architect Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen was destioned to become a cornerstone of mid-twentieth century Modernist furniture design. Born in Finland, Eero emigrated to the United States with his family in 1923 at the age of 13. His education was vast, from apprenticing under his father in the Art Nouveau style to formal studies at In Paris and Yale.
Saarinen's vision for design was most clarified, however, while studying sculpture and furniture making at Cranbrook. There he developed very close ties with fellow students Charles Eames and Florence Knoll, relationships which directly influenced much of his ideology over the course of his career. His first critical recognition came in partnership with Charles Eames on a prize-winning chair for the 1940 "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" competition. That design was the precursor of Eames' low-cost fiberglass shell chairs as well as Saarinen's Series 71 and 72 lines of office and home seating. Saarinen's bond with Charles Eames was so tight, in fact, he named his son Eames Saarinen.
In addition to furniture design, Eero was also an accomplished architect. His most important structure is arguably Saint Louis' iconic Gateway Arch, but he is known internationally for much of his architecture firm's output. The Kresge Auditorium at MIT, The TWZ Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and the main terminal of Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. are all important contributions Saarinen made to the American landscape.
Eero Saarinen passed away in September of 1961 at the age of 51 while undergoing surgery on a brain tumor.
09-034. Eero Saarinen
Series 71/72 desk chair
Found on November 30, 2009