Saarinen had an all-embracing notion of the totality of design. “I believe very strongly that the whole field of design is all one thing,” Saarinen once proclaimed. In furniture design, the client is Everyman.”
Born in Finland to famed architect Eliel Saarinen and textile designer Loja Saarinen, Eero immigrated with his family to the United States in 1923, settling in Michigan. His father founded co-founded the Cranbrook Academy where Eero began lifelong relationships with fellow students, Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Knoll. Saarinen studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris, France, and later graduated from the Yale School of Architecture in 1934.
Eero Saarinen took full advantage of contemporary advances in industrial manufacturing and materials. This enabled the sculptural, dynamic forms that mark some of the most iconic symbols and groundbreaking designs of midcentury modernism. Some of the Finnish architect’s most recognizable pieces of furniture are the Womb Chair, the Saarinen Pedestal Table, the Saarinen Tulip Chair and the Saarinen executive chair. Outstanding buildings are the TWA Terminal at JFK airport, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport Terminal.
Saarinen’s illustrious career was cut short with his untimely death in 1961, at age 51, while having surgery for a brain tumor. His legacy reflects the optimism and expansion of post war America and his groundbreaking brand of midcentury modernism.