Tulip Suite (1955)

The Tulip Chair was designed by埃罗沙里宁in 1955 and 1956 for the Knoll Company of New York City. It was designed primarily as a chair to match the complementary dining table. The chair, a classic of industrial design, has the smooth lines ofmodernism实验材料的时间。

The Tulip chair, designed for Knoll by Eero Saarinen in 1956.
The Tulip chair, designed for Knoll by Eero Saarinen in 1956

Image source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knoll_(company)#/media/File:Tulip_chair.jpg

How was the Tulip Chair conceived and Why?

'Pedestal' Armchair and Seat Cushion
‘Pedestal’ Armchair and Seat Cushion by Eero Saarinen

Image source:https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/1afb3ee4-b366-43d7-ab65-bd1143b73948

Like many contemporary architects,埃罗沙里宁waschallenged by furniture design, especially thechair, which presentsaestheticalandstructural problemsthat are particularly difficult to solve. Notably,Saarinen’s objective was to resolve the “ugly, confusing, unrestful world” underneath chairs and tables, and in order to do that, he designed a chair that could be “all one thing again”. The Tulip Chair, with its only leg, is therefore an accomplishment of modern design and a timeless addition to the furnishing industry.

'Pedestal' Armchair and Seat Cushion
‘Pedestal’ Armchair and Seat Cushion by Eero Saarinen

Image source:https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/13b2388b-100a-4d3f-b3fd-670095b00ed3

The undercarriage of chairs and tables in a typical interior makes an ugly, confusing, unrestful world. I wanted to clear up the slum of legs. I wanted to make the chair all one thing again.

A Bridge Between Stylistic Eras

The Tulip Chair is often considered “space age” for its futuristic use ofcurvesandartificial materials. It is in fact a piece of furniture that can be seen asa bridge between two artistic currents: the soberInternational Styleand the whimsical, eccentricpostmodernism. Likewise, the chair sets new standards for modern design, being an accomplished effort inclarifying form.

Dining room, Apartment 12, Aylesbury, Hove.
Dining room, Apartment 12, Aylesbury, Hove

Image source:https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/a6bfb037-f069-425b-9e21-d74751c9a39ebyEl gran sueño – Asturias

Patent and Versions

Designed in1955,Saarinenwas awarded apatent for the Tulip Chaironly five years after, in1960. He realisedtwo versionsof the chair: one with the armrests and one without them. The former falls under the name of “Tulip Arm Chair”, while the latter is called “Tulip Armless Chair”. Each of these two versions has also a variation with cushions both on the seat and the backrest.

The four versions of the Tulip Chair.
The four versions of the Tulip Chair. 1956

Image source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_chair#/media/File:Tulip_med.jpg

Which are the Materials of the Tulip Suite?

Saarinenhad hoped to produce the chair as aone piece unit made entirely offiberglass, but this material wasnot able to support the base, and prototypes were prone to breakage. As a result, the base of the Tulip Chair is ofcastaluminumwith arilsan-coatedfinishto match the upper shell, giving the appearance of a single unit. The upper shellis moldedfiberglass, with a reinforced,plasticbonded finish. The upholstered foam cushion is removable withzippered coverandVelcro fastening.

Tulip chair and seat cushion, designed 1956, Brooklyn Museum.
Tulip chair and seat cushion, designed 1956, Brooklyn Museum

Image source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eero_Saarinen#/media/File:Saarinen_Tulpanstolen.jpg

Data Sheet

  • Designer: Eero Saarinen;
  • Year of design: 1955-1956;
  • Manufacturer: Knoll;
  • Provenance: USA.

Info sources:

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