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 The Executive was originally made of fiberglass but was later updated in polyurethane to take advantage of the technical advances in plastics.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.
“The purpose of architecture is to shelter and enhance man’s life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence,” said Eero Saarinen in 1959. Saarinen’s architectural legacy communicates this sentiment of giddy potential and unfettered optimism in post-war America. Iconic projects like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport Terminal and the Kresge Auditorium on MIT’s campus express his groundbreaking brand of mid-century modernism.
Born in Finland to famed architect Eliel Saarinen and textile designer Loja Saarinen, Eero immigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1923. Settling in Michigan, Eliel co-founded the Cranbrook Academy of Art and designed most of the buildings for the campus – now a National Historic Landmark – and the young Eero worked alongside his father as a student apprentice. It was at Cranbrook that Eero met Charles Eames, beginning their lifelong collaboration. Read more >