Post 2: Eero Saarinen 1910-1961

imagesEero Saarinen:Eero Saarinen (1910-1961) was incredibly influential in shaping the American postwar design movement.
 A Finnish American architect and industrial designer of the 20th century famous for varying his style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves or machine-like rationalism. His work embraced a new breed of modernism in which there are very few straight lines.

Saarinen first received critical recognition, while still working for his father, for a chair designed together with Charles Eames for the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition in 1940, for which they received first prize. The “Tulip Chair”.

During his long association with Knoll he designed many important pieces of furniture including the “Grasshopper” lounge chair and ottoman (1946), the “Womb” chair and ottoman (1948), the “Womb” settee (1950), side and arm chairs (1948–1950), and his most famous “Tulip” or “Pedestal” group (1956), which featured side and arm chairs, dining, coffee and side tables, as well as a stool. All of these designs were highly successful except for the “Grasshopper” lounge chair, which, although in production through 1965, was not a big success.

Tulip Chairimages-1
He employed a number of popular innovations. They made structural shells for their chairs with layers of glue and wood veneer, and put their cabinets on bases, introducing a new flexibility of placement and function.

In the 1950s Saarinen designed a series of pedestal furniture for Knoll, hoping to create a clean visual style that eradicated what he called the “slum of legs” that he thought sullied many chairs. The pieces, which included the “Tulip” chair and side table, were actually made from both fiberglass and aluminum, but he painted the entire base white in order to make it look as though it had been made from a single material.


post2: aalto#

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Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto

Alvar Aalto was one of the first and most influential architects of the Scandinavian modern movement Born (February 3 1898 – May 11 1976) was a Finnish architect and designer, his work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware. Aalto’s early career runs in parallel with the rapid economic growth and industrialization of Finland during the first half of the twentieth century and many of his clients were industrialists; among these were the Ahlström-Gullichsen family. The span of his career, from the 1920s to the 1970s, is reflected in the styles of his work, ranging from Nordic Classicismof the early work, to a rational International Style Modernism during the 1930s to a more organic modernist style from the 1940s onwards. He was noted for his humanistic approach to modernism. He studied architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology from 1916 to 1921, and returned to Jyväskylä, where he opened his first architectural office in 1923. What is typical for his entire career, however, is a concern for design as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art; whereby he – together with his first wife Aino Aalto – would design not just the building, but give specialtreatments to the interior surfaces and design furniture, lamps, and furnishings and glassware.

Alvar Aalto is one of the greatest names in modern architecture and design.  he liked to use variations on one theme, fluid organic shapes that let the end user decide the use. Interpretations of the shape in new colors and materials add to the growing Alvar Aalto Collection that remains true to his original design.

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20th Century Chair Design: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
27th March 1886 – 17th August 1969

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a revolutionary, influential architect who was a committed educator, creator of several memorable sayings & most notably a talented furniture designer. His career began working in his father’s stonemasonry business. He went on to complete an apprenticeship with furniture designer Bruno Paul in Berlin & afterwards joined the office of architect Peter Behrens (whose work foretold the modern movement).

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

In 1912 Mies established his own office in Berlin where he later became a member of the Deutscher Werkbund & Director of architecture at the Bauhaus Design School. He also assisted the establishment of the ‘Der Ring’ architectural association.

Illinois Institute of Technology Library and Administration Building Proposal by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

In 1938 Mies immigrated to America, where he established a practice in Chicago. His buildings include:
– The German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona Exposition,
– The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, Czechoslovakia
– The Seagram Building (designed with Philip Johnson)
– A cluster of residential towers along Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive in Chicago
– The Illinois Institute of Technology campus (where he was the director of architecture)

Mies van der Rohe successfully encouraged modernist architecture in Europe during the early 20th century & became known as “America’s Greatest Living Architect”. He was one of the most intellectual modernist architects & spent much of his life pursuing a rational approach to design, in hopes to generate a system that could be used to create powerful, aesthetic building similar those he had personally designed.

Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe

Some of his most concise aphorisms such as “God is in the details” & “Less is more” successfully encapsulated his philosophical pursuits, in addition to his simplistic, innately appealing designs. The Barcelona Chair & the Brno Chair are two of his most famous furniture designs, which reflect the same philosophical foundations that influenced his architecture. Both outstanding forms combine sleek modernist steel & luxurious leather which are equally defined by their surrounding space & the structure of the chair itself.

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POST 2: Sitting Pretty 20th Century Chairs: Tom Dixon – lily


Is a self-taught British designer specialised in welded salvage furniture.

He was born in Sfax, Tunisia in 1959. Dixon was brought to England at the age of 4 and grew up in London. After dropping out of art school in 1980, he played bass guitar in the band Funkapolitan and organised warehouse parties, before teaching himself welding.


As an autodidact (self taught) he got into the design business when he was 20 years old, and organised events for the english party scene before creating his first objects at the age of 25, becoming one of the most talked-about avant-garde designers.

Tom Dixon fell into design by accident when he found himself with lots of time on his hands while recovering from a motorcycle accident. As an art school drop-out with no technical training, he taught himself how to become a designer-maker in 1983 after discovering welding when trying to repair his motorbike.


Dixon’s D-I-Y approach to design matched the post-punk mood of the early 1980s. Having made his name by making and selling limited editions of his welded furniture. Chairs such as the S Chair and Pylon Chair he started to sell through his own shop, and then started to manufacture through the company Eurolounge which produced his work and that of other designers, like Michael Young.


In 1991 he founded his own studio ‘space’ and launched ‘Eurolounge’, a series of
multifunctional furnishing items. In this time period he produced numerous exhibitions on
‘creative recycling’ and experiments with unusual materials.
He also designed objects and interiors for Terence Conran, Jean Paul Gaultier, Romeo Gigli, Ralph Lauren and Vivienne Westwood.
His work is part of the collection of world’s leading museums as the Boston museum
of fine art, the London design museum, the centre Pompidou in Paris, the Moma in New
York, the museum of modern art in Tokyo, the Victorian & Albert museum and the Vitra
museum in Basle.


Dixon continued his collaborations with other designers in his “first proper job” as head of design at Habitat, where he has reissued archive designs by Verner Panton, Ettore Sottsass and Robin Day as well as commissioning new pieces from Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Ineke Hans and Marc Newson. He continues to initiate new projects as an independent designer and as creative director of Artek, the Finnish furniture manufacturer founded by the architect Alvar Aalto in the 1930s.

“A kind friend once described me as a ‘vertebrate designer’,” Dixon said.

“That means that I design from the bones outwards and am not really interested in surface.”

Post 2: Sitting Pretty – Marc Newson.

images Marc newson  Marc Newson is the most acclaimed and influential designer of his time. He was born in 1963 in Sydney, Australia. Newson has lived and worked in Tokyo and Paris while now he is based in London and he is married with 2 kids.Newson has always believed that growing up in Australia was a huge advantage as it has no distinct indigenous influences. His designs are self-taught and instinctive

images2                   images

Classified as an industrial designer, he incorporates a design style known as biomorphism into his various design fields. Meaning the use of flowing lines, translucency, transparency and tends to have an absence of sharp edges. Newson has a wide range of disciplines designing and creating everything from private and commercial aircraft, yachts, furniture design, jewelry and clothing. His designs are funkily futuristic, though technically rigorous.

orgone marc      The Orgone Lounge

In 1986  is when Newson staged a first exhibition featuring the Lockheed Lounge. Since then the lounge has set 3 consecutive world records at auction. Fetching $968 000 at Sotheby’s in 2006 and then it went for an amazing £1,100,000 in 2009.

marc_newson__lockheed_lounge_upload_101419_vino_cms_ Lockheed Lounge.

In 2005 he was selected as one of Times Magazines top 100 most influential people of the year. Also Newson was appointed ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to design. Marc Newson is truly an innovative and experimental designer that has earned him the success he deserves.

Post 2 : Arne Jacobsen

Arne Jacobsen was both an architect and a designer.  He teamed with Fritz Hansen to create furniture, namely chairs and lounges,  Jacobsen designing and Fritz creating.  Together they cemented their names in history with the ANT™ in 1952. 

The Ant™ was originally designed for the canteen at Novo Nordisk (Danish healthcare company), Fritz at the time was not convinced of the chairs potential and the ANT™ was almost just another prototype. The ANT™ as succeeded by the Series 7™ (4 legs rather than 3) in 1955.

ant   Series 7

Jacobsen went on to design the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen (the worlds first designer hotel) in the late 1950’s, this project paved the way for the creation of the Egg™, the Swan™, the Swan™ Sofa and the Series 3300™.  Three key pieces that would go on to become icons in furniture history and design.  His inspiration for the curved chairs came from the bent plywood of Charles and Ray Eames.

egg swan series 3300

The Egg™ and the Swan™ were Jacobsen’s opportunity to put his theories of integrated design and architecture into practice.  No straight lines, only curves.  A moulded shell of synthetic material on an aluminium star swivel base, with a layer of cold foam covering the shell upholstered in fabric or leather (reference  Both these designs originated in Jacobsen’s garage at his home in Klampenborg (north of Copenhagen).  These designs are still in production at Fritz Hansen.

Although Arne Jacobsen will always be remembered for his simplistic but highly effective furniture design, Arne never used the word ‘designer’, notoriously disliking it.  He was first and foremost an architect.