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Eero Saarinen
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Saarinen, Eero

Carroll Gantz
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Eero Saarinen

U.S. architect and furniture designer, born in Kirkkonummi, Finland, son of Eliel Saarinen, Finland's leading architect and first president of Cranbrook Academy when it was founded in 1925. Eero migrated to U.S. in 1923 with his parents, studied sculpture at Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris (1929-1930) and received a degree in architecture at Yale University (1930-1934). He traveled and studied in Europe, Middle East and Africa on a fellowship (1934-1936). In 1935 joined his father at Cranbrook, and worked with Charles Eames, who was hired as head of experimental design there in 1937. They explored the use of new plastics in furniture design together. Eero taught architecture at Cranbrook from 1939-1941, and continued his father's practice as Eero Saarinen Associates after 1950. He married Aline B. Louchheim, who became well known as articulate art critic Aline Saarinen. With Charles Eames, Eero won first prize in a 1941 furniture design competition sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art. He Joined Knoll Associates 1947, and designed an number of award-winning pieces of furniture, including the "Womb Chair "(1948), described by Florence Knoll as "a great big chair you can curl up in," and, assisted by Don Petit of Knoll's Design Development Group, the 1956 line of "Pedestal" furniture in molded fiberglass. Their graceful white organic shapes were supported by a single stem flowing from a circular base, the stated design objective being to reduce the profusion of legs in a typical room setting. It was Saarinen's last major furniture design. In his architectural practice, Eero designed in 1949, along with Charles and Ray Eames, the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, which was number eight of the 36 Case Study Houses built by John Entenza. Eero was one of a number of architects engaged by J. Irwin Miller, Chairman of Cummins Engine Co., Inc. to design 65 buildings of modernist architecture in the town of Columbus, Indiana between 1957 and 1967. He designed the Dulles International Airport Terminal that opened near Washington, 1958, the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy airport that opened in 1962, the IBM pavilion in the 1964 World's Fair in New York, and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis that debuted in 1965.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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