About Eero Saarinen - Biography - Sweet Modern - Product Type - Details

Eero Saarinen

Eero Saarinen

Eero was born in August of 1910 in Kikkonummi, Grand Duchy of Finland.  When Eero was 13 his family moved to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  He attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he took courses in sculpture and furniture design.  During his time there he became close friends with Charles and Ray Eames as well as Florence Knoll.  Saarinen later attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumiere in France where he studied sculpture, as well as Yale where he studied architecture.

After a 2 year exploration of Finland, North Africa, and Europe Eero moved back to Michigan where he worked for his father and taught at Cranbrook Academy of Art where he was once a student.  Saarinen's first success in the furniture industry was a joint design between Eero and Charles Eames.  The chair was named the Organic Chair, designed for the Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition in 1940.  Also known as the Tulip Chair, the Knoll Furniture Company began manufacturing the Organic Chair with great success in 1956.

While working for his father, Saarinen first prize in a competition for the design of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, now known as the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis.  While the memorial wasn't completed until after Eero's death, it was Saarinen's most famous accomplishment.

Saarinen worked very closely with the Knoll Furniture Company throughout most of his career. He had attended school with Florence Knoll (then Florence Schust) and enjoyed a very close friendship with her and her husband, Hans Knoll.  While working for his father Eero designed the Womb chair and ottoman, the Womb settee, the Grasshopper lounge chair and ottoman, and various side and arm schairs for the Knoll Furniture Company.  

Throughout most of the 50's Saarinen shifted his focus to designing many buildings and corporate headquarters.  Saarinen was one of the first architects to use models to convey his ideas which made sharing ideas and gathering input from other professionals much more effective.  Buildings he designed include the Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois, the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, John Deer Headquarters, IBM headquarters, CBS Headquarters.  He also designed the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, the TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport, the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri, the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, and many others.  

Eero Saarinen was one of the most influential architects of the 21st century.  He died in September of 1971 while having an operation on a brain tumor.