Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Post 4 Susie Beame: Chair Designs

The Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen

The Tulip chair was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1956 for the Knoll company of New York City. It was designed primarily as a chair to match the complementary dining table. The chair has the smooth lines of modernism and is experimental with materials. The chair is considered a classic of industrial design. The chair is often considered "space age" for its futuristic use of curves and artificial materials. The design was popularized by its use on the original Star Trek television series (1966-69).

The Tulip chair is still available with or without arms with a swivel action or fixed position.  The base is a cast aluminum, rilsan coated finish.  The shell is molded fiberglass with a reinforced, plastic bonded finish.  The upholstered foam cushion is removable, with zippered cover and Velcro fastening.  The base and shell finishes are available in White, Black or Platinum.

The Designer, Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) 
Birthplace: Finland
The son of architect and Cranbrook Academy of Art director Eliel Saarinen and his wife, textile artist Loja, Eero Saarinen studied sculpture in Paris and architecture at Yale before working on furniture design with Norman Bel Geddes and practicing architecture with his father. He collaborated on several projects in furniture design with his friend, Cranbrook alumnus Charles Eames, and opened his own practice in Bloomfield Hills in 1950. Among the many buildings for which he is known are the Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, and the TWA Terminal at Kennedy International Airport in New York. He was the recipient of numerous awards and the subject of many exhibitions.

Awards for the Tulip Chair

The Museum of Modern Art Award, 1969
Federal Award for Industrial Design, 1969
Design Center Stuttgart Award, 1962

Knoll Products: dining and low tables, executive chair, executive side chair, Tulip chairs, Womb chair and ottoman

Eero Saarinen was the Architect for the TWA Terminal at Kennedy International Airport (Renamed John F Kennedy International Airport in 1963).  Built in 1956 to 1962 of concrete in modern style, the free flowing curves suggest flight.


The Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe

The Barcelona chair created 1929 by Mies van der Rohe, is one of the most stylish and elegant pieces of modern furniture of the 20th Century and probably the most recognized piece of modern furniture around.

The frame is crafted fro
m stainless steal with thick leather straps supporting the seat pad and chair back (Straps attached using velcro). The padding used is visco-elastic memory foam, which is fire resistant to comply with all UK safety laws. This model is of the highest quality and would make a great addition to any modern home.

Though it has a "machine made" appearance it is almost 100% hand laboured. The frames are made of massive suspension stainless steel. It requires extreme precision and highest craftsmanship to weld and finish the joints.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)
 Birthplace: Germany
Knoll Products: Barcelona Collection, MR series, Brno chair, Krefeld Collection, Tugendhat chair, Four Seasons barstool

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. Mies, like many of his post WW I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential Twentieth-Century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define austere but elegant spaces. He developed the use of exposed steel structure and glass to enclose and define space, striving for an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of open space. He called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design, and is known for his use of the aphorisms “Less is more” and "God is in the details". Mies designed modern furniture pieces using new industrial technologies that have become popular classics, such as the Barcelona chair and table, and the Brno chair. His furniture is known for fine craftsmanship, a mix of traditional luxurious fabrics like leather combined with modern chrome frames, and a distinct separation of the supporting structure and the supported surfaces, often employing cantilevers to enhance the feeling of lightness created by delicate structural frames. During this period, he collaborated closely with interior designer and companion Lilly Reich.

1 comment:

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