The Tulip Chair is one of a series of chairs, stools, and tables developed by Eero Saarinen within a five-year period. The characteristic feature of the series is that the supporting structure has been pared to a central supporting stem »like a wineglass« in order to emphasise the uniformity of table and chair. Eero Saarinen describes the Tulip Chair: »The bases of tables and chairs in a typical furniture arrangement create an ugly, confusing, and restless world. I wanted to design a chair as an integrated whole once again. All important furniture of the past always had a holistic structure, from King Tut's chair to that of Thomas Chippendale. Today, we are parting ways with this holism with our predilection for plastic and laminated wood shells. I am looking forward to the point when the plastics industry will be capable of manufacturing the chair using just one material, the way I have designed it.«
- Height: 13.6 cm / 5 3/8 inch
- Width: 8.5 cm / 3 3/8 inch
- Depth: 8.8 cm / 3 1/2 inch
- Each miniature is packaged in a wooden box, accompanied by an informational booklet.
- Each of the delicate objects are made by hand; on average, each miniature requires five hours of careful manual work. Ongoing quality control ensures that every miniature corresponds to its larger original in terms of finishing, details and materials.
Twenty years ago the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein began making miniature replicas of the great milestones in furniture design housed in its collection. A summary of the history of industrial furniture design – moving from the historic and art nouveau to the new Bauhaus’ radical design, and from postmodernism all the way up until the present day – the collection has grown to include more than 100 pieces. The chairs are all one sixth of the size of the originals. They are all true to scale and replicate the originals right down to the smallest details in construction, material and colour.
Vitra Miniatures Tulip Chair Designed by:
- Eero Saarinen , 1956
Finland, 1910 – 1961
Eero Saarinen, was born in 1910 in Finland and in 1923 the family emigrated to the US. He studied architecture at Yale, graduating in 1934. A Yale scholarship enabled Saarinen to travel to Europe but he returned to the US in 1936 to work in his father’s architectural practice. When his father died in 1950, Eero Saarinen took over the practice. Saarinen taught at Cranbrook Academy where he met Charles Eames in the late 1930s. Experimenting with Eames, Eero Saarinen co-developed new furniture forms and the first designs for furniture made of molded, laminated wood. In 1940 Saarinen and Eames took part in the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
For Knoll International Saarinen designed a great many pieces of furniture, including the 1948 Womb Chair, which was designed to make those seated in it feel as secure and cozy as a fetus in the womb. The Pedestal Group, dating from 1955-56, is collection of chairs and tables made of plastic and featuring only one central leg ending organically in a round disc on the floor. The very successful Tulip Chair belonged to this group. Eero Saarinen says he wanted to abolish the “miserable maze of legs.” In 1951 he designed the Saarinen Collection for Knoll, consisting of the still popular line of Executive Chairs. These chairs transformed the notion of what executive seating could be with its sculptural form and modern finishings.