1 / Which chairs to choose with a tulip table by Eero Saarinen?
The Tulip table, designed by Eero Saarinen and marketed by the Knoll company, is a design icon of the 20th century. In order to enhance your Tulip table, we recommend that you combine it with Tulip chairs by the same designer, in order to create a harmonious finish. If you don't want a 100% Tulip set, we recommend that you choose chairs that are discreet enough so that the table remains the “main” room. To highlight it, you can also opt for chairs with a few touches of "pop" color to enhance the white of the marble table!
2 / Which designers worked with Eero Saarinen?
Of Finnish origin, Eero Saarinen emigrated to the United States as a teenager. Born in 1910 and the son of a famous Finnish architect, Eliel Saarinen, he had the opportunity during his career to meet Charles Eames and Florence Knoll, designers of whom he became a close friend. At the time, Charles Eames was working for Eero Saarinen's father; Charles and Eero participated together in the organic design competition organized by MOMA, where they won first prize with the Womb armchair. He also worked with Florence Knoll, when they were already longtime friends; in 1947, the company Knoll Associates has just separated from its designer Jens Risom, and is looking for a designer. It is Eero Saarinen who is chosen to design a fireside chair.
3 / How to recognize a real Knoll tulip table?
The Knoll company is particularly known for the marketing of the tulip tables created by Eero Saarinen. Their success has led some manufacturers to create imitations; here are the details you need to pay attention to to know if your Knoll table is genuine. The base: It must be in cast aluminum, monobloc, and covered with Rilsan. The top: It is in smooth laminate or in marble; the veins are unique. The shape of the top: It is round or oval; the round top has a diameter of 120, 140 or 150 cm; as for the oval top, it measures 198x121 or 244x137cm. The signature: It is present on each of the undersides of the feet; the Knoll logo and the signature of Eero Saarinen are engraved. The screws: On an authentic table, they are not visible. The price: A new authentic table is sold for around € 6000; in general 2000 € for side tables to 10 € for larger ones. Large vintage tables are sold between 000 and 4000 €.
4 / Why did Eero Saarinen invent the Tulip table and chair?
The Tulip chair and the Tulip table by American designer Eero Saarinen are 20th century design icons. It was between 1953 and 1958 that the designer created the Tulip chair, for the “Organic Design in Furnishing” competition launched by MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, organized in 1941. The chair has a pedestal base, that is, it has only one foot; Eero Saarinen's desire was to design objects that were at the same time modern, practical and aesthetic, and to get rid of this "miserable clutter of feet". In 1956, he created the Tulip table with a single leg, on the same model as the Tulip chair.
5 / How to recognize a real Knoll tulip chair?
The Tulip chair, imagined by designer Eero Saarinen in 1957, has become a staple in the world of design. If this chair is so called, it is because the shape of its shell recalls that of tulip petals. Here are the characteristics of the genuine Knoll models. The foot: The Tulip chair has only one foot; Saarinen wanted to free up the space under the tables and chairs. It is made of cast aluminum and covered with rilsan, a plastic coating that gives it a uniform look from its inception until today. The base of the axis is very thin. From 1957, the foot is stamped "Knoll International" under the Rilsan; rilsan completely covers the underside of the foot. Models manufactured between 1960 and 1970 are not always stamped, and the rilsan only partially covers the underside of the foot. From the mid-1970s to the 1990s, rilsan still only partially covered the underside of the foot, and three reinforcing studs appeared under the foot of the chair. Since the late 1990s, the chairs have been fitted with a "Knoll Studio" stamp plate and the designer's signature. The underside of the foot is completely covered with rilsan, and ribs are present. The foam: From 1957 to the mid-1990s, the lower part of the foam is dimpled. Then the foam is full. The sticker under the cushion is rarely present. Fixing the cushions: From 1956 to the beginning of the 1960s, the cushions were fixed with laces on an overflowing grooved plate. Then, until 1995, they were fixed using round velcro sewn by a single machine pass, then two passes thereafter. The hulls: The hulls are unchanged since 1957; they are made of fiberglass. The plates: They are black or white. For fixed armchairs, a screw with visible head under the cushion, directly screwed into the cast iron of the foot is used. For swivel chairs, no visible head under the cushion, it is a Phillips head screw. There you have it, now you will recognize a real Tulip Knoll chair!