When the Tulip chair was produced by Knoll in 1955 as part of designer Eero Saarinen’s Pedestal series, it was considered a symbol if futuristic design. It was also so “space age” that a slightly modified version became a fixture in the famous Untied States TV series Star Trek during the 1960s.

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Image: Homme Space

Why We Love It

Making history as one of the first one-legged chairs, its curved organic shape resembles not only the flower, but also a stemmed wine glass. Saarinen originally intended to create a single-piece chair moulded from fibreglass, but it proved to be structurally unsound. Thus, an aluminium base is instead used to support the fibreglass swivel seat, and has a fused plastic finish to make the chair appear like a single piece.

Why Designed It

Finnish-American architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen is renowned for his sculptural approach to furniture design. Born to famous parents, architect and Cranbrook Academy of Art director Eliel Saarinen and textile designer Lola Saarinen, Eero was surrounded by design his whole life, starting off as an apprentice to his father. After finishing his architecture degree at Yale University, he returned to teach at Cranbrook, where he met Charles Eames and Florence Knoll. Both became his good friends and important collaborators throughout his career. His graceful and organic designs helped establish the identity of Knoll during its formative years.

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Image: Dream Interiors

What It Inspired

Apart from the side chair and armchair, the Pedestal series also includes a stool, a dining table and a coffee table. This collection is Saarinen’s last furniture series, which he developed within a five-year period. The pieces are still being manufactures today in their original form.

The Tulip Chair is available at Dream Interiors.