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Saarinen, Eero

Born: 1910 AD
Died: 1961 AD, at 51 years of age.

Nationality: Finnish
Categories: Furniture Designer


1910 -  Born on August 20th in Kirkkonummi, Finland, to Loja, a weaver and photographer, and architect Eliel Saarinen, one of the founders of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Eero was primed from the start to take a place among the designers and architects developing and strengthening an environment primed to change the domestic and industrial face of the nation.

1923 - Saarinen moved with his parents to the United States.

1929 - He left to study in Paris.

1930-1934 - Returned to enroll in the architecture program at Yale.

1937 - After graduating he worked briefly as a furniture designer with Norman Bel Geddes, but left to join his father's architecture practice in Ann Arbor, renamed Saarinen and Saarinen upon his inclusion.

1940 - He was introduced to Charles Eames and they collaborated on a series of furniture that would dominate the "Organic Design in Home Furnishings" show at the MoMA.

1946 - In the late forties Saarinen designed a number of curvy, sculptural chairs for Knoll. Of the pieces that became well-known, the "Grasshopper" chair was made in bent plywood with an upholstered seat.

1947 - Saarinen won a competition to design the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis and his enormous, simple arch design became the popular "Gateway to the West".

1948 - The "Womb" chair revisited the shape of the "Conversation" chair, updating and improving the cozy design and adding an ottoman and sofa to the series.

1950 - Saarinen designed a series of pedestal furniture for Knoll, hoping to create a clean visual style that eradicated what he called the "slum of legs" that he thought sullied many chairs.

1953-1960 - He designed Kresge Auditorium and Kresge Chapel at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US Embassy in London and Dulles International Airport.

1961 - Saarinen died very young on Spetember 1st in Ann Arbor; leaving behind children from two marriages and a blossoming career that embraced a new breed of modernism in which there are very few straight lines.


Page last updated: 3:50pm, 07th Mar '07