about Eero Saarinen

EERO SAARINEN (1910 – 1961)

Eero Saarinen was born in Kirkkonummi in Finland on August 20, 1910. Although Eero Saarinen was only 51 years old, he is ranked among the most famous and most successful designers and architects of the 20th century. The name of his father gave the young Eero Saarinen a start: “Eliel Gottlieb Saarinen” was a very famous architect of his time.

In the 1920s Saarinen and his family immigrated to the USA, but soon the young Eero Saarinen felt drawn back to Europe: for two years Eero Saarinen studied sculpture in Paris. Afterwards, from 1930 to 1934, Saarinen lived in the US again and studied architecture at the School of Art and Architecture in Yale.  

After his studies, Eero Saarinen got a lectureship at the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills – his father had been the director of this institute for several years by then. It was there that Eero Saarinen met Charles Eames. Together, Eames and Eero Saarinen, experimented with different new forms of furniture made of glued plywood.

However, Eero Saarinen soon turned to other materials again: his most famous piece of furniture was presented in 1956, the “Tulip Chair“, made of plastics and featuring only one central leg ending organically in a round disc on the floor - a design that later became typical for Saarinen. With this element Eero Saarinen wanted to abolish the „miserable maze of legs“.   

The armchair “Grasshopper“, still with armrests made of laminated wood, from 1946/47, is also quite famous. One year later Eero Saarinen designed the “Womb“ collection, a series of curved seating furniture, first of all promising comfort, cosiness and security. The name “Womb”  suggests to make those seated on it feel as a foetus in the womb.

In addition to some absolute design classics, Eero Saarinen also developed architectural masterpieces like the TWA terminal at the John F. Kennedy airport in New York.

Eero Saarinen died at the age of 51 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.