This week’s mod focus is on the Saarinen Tulip Chair by Finnish American sculptor and designer Eero Saarinen. This famous neofuturistic chair was first created in 1956. This specific chair design won the Museum of Modern Art Award in 1969.
Like many of the well-loved designs created during the 1950s, the Saarinen Tulip Chair was born from a need for affordable and fresh takes on everyday furniture. Saarinen was dissatisfied with the leg design of most dining room furniture. He called the typical leg design, “slum of legs,” for this reason.
The shape of the base resembling the stem of a flower was a completely new adaptation to leg design. The silhouette of the Saarinen Tulip Chair is simple yet organic in form. The seat is made from fiberglass and the base is made from painted cast aluminum. Each chair comes with an upholstered cushion for added comfort.
Fiberglass and different types of lightweight metals were heavily experimented with by the most prestigious mid-century modern designers of the era. The materials these designs are made from are easily produced at a lower cost without skimping on their retro style and ergonomic comfort. This made it possible for more people to have popular modern furnishings and decor in their homes.
Today, the Saarinen Tulip Chair is still available in high-quality reproductions of the original version. It is also customizable in color and in cushion upholstery. The Saarinen Tulip Side Chair continues to be a favorite among mid-century modern design lovers and retro-vintage furniture enthusiasts.