The design of Eero Saarinen's Executive Armchair (1950) began more than a decade earlier, when he and Charles Eames submitted several designs to the Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition at the MoMA. The pair, who'd been friends and collaborators since meeting at Cranbrook Academy of Art, won first prize. These fluid, sculptural shapes influenced the future work of both men; for Saarinen, most notably in his Womb, Tulip and Executive chairs. The Executive was originally made of fiberglass but was later updated in polyurethane to take advantage of the technical advances in plastics. The feel of this classic seat, however, remains unchanged. The molded shell flexes slightly with the sitter and the contoured plywood seat supported by metal or wood legs. Unlike Saarinen's furniture, which was consistently sculptural in form, these fluid lines didn't appear in his architecture until the 1950s. When looking at the dome-shaped glass wall of the Kresge Auditorium at MIT, it's not a big leap to see the same shape in the back of his Executive Chair. This chair is Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified¿ for its use of low-emitting products. Manufactured by Knoll according to the original and exacting specifications of the designer. Made in U.S.A.
Molded reinforced polyurethane shell; contoured plywood seat; steel leg base; seamless tubular steel legs with polished chrome finish; Spinneybeck Volo leather upholstery.
Although Eero Saarinen made his reputation in the United States following World War II, he had his roots in Europe. Until 1923, he lived in Finland with his mother, textile artist Loja Saarinen, and his father, the renowned architect and town planner, Eliel Saarinen. For Eero, architecture was a discipline like the fine arts, and in particular, sculpture. He called himself a "form giver" and everything he designed had a strong sculptural quality.
Saarinen began his career as a student at Yale University and after travels and studies in Europe returned to the U.S. and taught for a brief period at Cranbrook Academy. Cranbrook had been founded in 1927 by publisher George C. Booth and Eliel Saarinen, the latter of whom became Director in 1932. Two of its graduates were Charles Eames and Florence Knoll Bassett (then Schust). Read more >