* 20th of August 1910 in Kirkonummi, Finland
† 1st of September 1961 in Ann Arbor, Michigan
When he is born in Finland in summer 1910, the Finnish architect and designer Eero Saarinen is actually pre-stressed by birth, since his father Eliel is at the time an already famous Finish architect, well-known for his Art Nouveau works.
In 1923, the family emigrates to the United States of America. At age of 19 years, Eero Saarinen studies sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière before studying architecture at Yale in New Haven until 1934.
A Yale scholarship enables Eero Saarinen to travel to Europe again, but he returns to the US in 1936 to work in his father's architectural practice.
Eero Saarinen also takes up a teaching position at the Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where his father is director since the foundation of the academy in 1932. Cranbrook is renowned for its architecture in the Arts and Crafts Movement style.
The Arts and Crafts Movement begins primarily as a search for authentic and meaningful styles for the 19th century and as a reaction to the eclectic revival of historic styles of the Victorian era as well as the "soulless" machine-made production aided by the Industrial Revolution. Arts and Craft has an effect on movements like the Vienna Workshops (Wiener Werkstätte), German Work Federation (Deutscher Werkbund) and Bauhaus.
The academy is considered the most important in America. A well known journalist of the New York Times pronounces the Cranbrook Campus as one of the most beautiful in the American continent. With an estate of nearly one billion dollars in 2007, the Cranbrook schools is part of the wealthiest schools of the United States.
At the Cranbrook Academy, Eero Saarinen meets Charles Eames in the late 1930’s. Experimenting with Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen co-develops new furniture forms and the first designs for furniture in moulded laminated wood.
In 1940, Saarinen and Eames take part in the "Organic design in Home Furnishings" competition established by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. For these designs, they work in cooperation with Harry Bertoia, Don Albinson and Ray Kaiser which Charles Eames marries one year later. While Charles Eames, together with his wife Ray, continue to work on moulded plywood furniture, Eero Saarinen later chooses other materials.
When his father dies in 1950, Eero Saarinen takes over his practice under the new company name Saarinen & Associates in Birmingham until 1961.
The "Pedestal Group" dating from 1955/56 is an Eero Saarinen collection of chairs and tables made of plastic and featuring only one central leg ending organically in a round disc on the floor. The Tulip chair belongs to this group as well as the Tulip Armchair, the Tulip Stool, the Tulip Bar Stool, the Side Table, the Round Coffee Table, the Oval Coffee Table, the Cocktail Table, the Round Dining Table and the Oval Dining Table.
Eero Saarinen wants to abolish the "miserable maze of legs" and designs the whole Pedestal Group with a single pedestal faithful to the slogan: “why does a chair or a table needs four legs, on which we bump so often anyway”.
Eero Saarinen's architectural masterpiece is the signature TWA – Trans World Airlines Terminal at J.F. Kennedy Airport in New York which is built between 1956 and 1962.
Between 1958 and 1963, he designs the Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC; but, he doesn’t see it completed. Eero Saarinen dies much too early at only 51 years on the 1st of September 1961 in Michigan.