Eero Saarinen – Tulip Chair (1955-1956)
Let me introduce the Tulip Chair – mostly defined by its formal unity and unique organic shape – the chair has been a symbol of futuristic thinking in furniture design since it was first introduced by Knoll as part of Eero Saarinen’s pedestal series in the 1950s.
A Chair with just One Leg – that is the dichotomy of Saarinen’s Tulip Chair, but many other terms could be added; futuristic, classic and organic.
Saarinen was well aware of the non-existence of a one-legged chair, so he deliberately took upon himself the challenge of creating one. With its pedestal base, the Tulip Chair made history as one of the first one-legged chairs, a pedestal swivel chair with an aluminium base and a moulded fiberglass shell. The use of fiberglass was very innovative at the time, and the material provided a lot of flexibility with a formal expression that allowed Saarinen to achieve a fluently organic piece. Its overall form is evocative of a flower that seems to grow out of the ground.
The Tulip Chair can be spotted in many famous places, but my favorite interior with this highly valued antique is the apartment of the architect and engineer, Carlo Mollino in Torino. Here Mollino set 8 Tulip Chairs around the dining table with a hidden meaning of the concept of infinity – ∞.
Author: Anna Marie Fisker
Photo: Marie Frier Hvejsel