The Finnish architect was born in 1910 to Eliel Saarinene a renowned architect of his time and mother Loja who was a textile artist. At the age of 13 he immigrated to USA with his family. From a very young age he was inclined towards sculpting and took it up later on along with furniture designing and was taught by his father who took classes in the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He later studied architecture in Yale University. During this period he was very close to Charles
and Ray Earnes (furniture designer) and Florence Knoll who was a family friend of his (Florence Knoll owned the company that produced Eero Saarinen’s designs.). He finished his studies in the year 1934.
After his studies got over he immediately took up a journey and traversed North Africa and Europe for a years time and went back to his home country and spent another year there before returning to US.On his return he started taking lessons in the Cranbook Academy and also started working under his father. Around this time he joined the OSS (Office of Strategic Service) on his friend’s insistence. Here he was designated the job of drawing illustrations for manuals that dealt in disassembling bombs. He continued in this service as a full time worker till 1944.
Saarien’s career as a full fledged designer started in the 1940’s while he was still apprenticed under his father. Attention was first drawn to him for his design of a chair with co designer Charles Eames for a competition (Organic Design in Home Furnishing) held in 1940.They won the first prize and this furniture was manufactured in mass scale by Knoll Furniture Company. It is since customary for this company (Knoll furniture) to mass produce Eero Saarien’s works.
Eero Saarinene was better known for his architectural marvels than his furniture designs. He continued to design furniture alongside his architecture projects, the buildings dominating his view.Some of his major works as a furniture designer are:
• “Grasshopper” ottoman and lounge chair designed in 1946.
• “Womb” ottoman and chair produced in 1948 and settee designed in 1950.
• “Pedestal” group or “Tulip” furniture considered to be his most famous creation. This group came into existence in the year 1956.
He went on to create many prominent structures, his best known work being the TWA Flight Center. He married Aline Bernstine (art critic) in year 1954 after divorcing his first wife. He had a child with Aline Bernstine and two from his first marriage. He died at the age of 51, when surgery was being performed to remove his brain tumor.
He did not receive much critical acclaim during his life time; he in fact received more criticism for his undefined style of designing. He did not have a distinct style, his designs being more in accordance with the requirements of the customers. Recently much interest has been generated and many are in want of knowledge about his designing style. He is opined to be one among the masters of architecture of the 20th century America.