Tulip Chair, No. 151

Eero Saarinen

Design: 1956
Production: 1956 to the present
Manufacturer: Knoll Associates, Inc.,
New York
Size: 80.5 x 49.5 x 54; seat height 48 cms
Material: varnished fiberglass-reinforced
polyester, varnished cast aluminum,
foam rubber, textile

The “Tulip Chair” is one of a series of chairs, armchairs, stools, tables, and side 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 emphasize the uniformity of table and 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. In current production methods, pedestal furniture is half plastic and half metal. 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.”1 The “Tulip Chair” is still produced today in its original form. PD

[1] Eero Saarinen, “Furniture Design 1947 to 1958,” quoted in Aline B. Saarinen, Eero Saarinen on His Work (New Haven, 1962), 66.

Eero Saarinen

Tulip Chair No 151 Eero Saarinen