Saarinen Executive Armless Chair

Eero Saarinen 1950

Featured in nearly all Florence Knoll-designed interiors, the Saarinen Executive Chair remains one of the most popular Knoll designs. Introduced in 1950, the chair transformed the notion of what executive seating could be with its sculptural form and modern finishing.

Finishes

View Approved KnollTextiles

 

 

See approval matrices in the downloads section leather approvals.

  • color Light Oak
  • color Pearwood
  • color Light Walnut
  • color Reff Dark Cherry
  • color Ebonized Walnut Veneer
  • color Chrome
  • color Black

Dimensions

Additional Info

Construction and Details
  • Available in a wide range of KnollTextiles and Spinneybeck® leathers
  • Available with plastic back available in white or black
  • Seat features molded, reinforced polyurethane back shell and a contoured plywood seat form
  • Steel legs are seamless tubular steel with polished chrome finish
  • Wood legs are solid, steam-bent oak available in 5 finish colors
  • Available with 5-star base with casters,360 degree swivel, tilt with tilt tension, and pneumatic seat height adjustment
Sustainable Design and Environmental Certification
  • GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®

 

Configure Saarinen Executive Armless Chair

The configurator below is for reference purposes only. All options, finishes and sizes may not be represented.
For the complete scope, please refer to the KnollStudio price list.


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After winning the Museum of Modern Art Organic Design Competition with Charles Eames for their experiments with bent plywood in 1941, Eero Saarinen was eager to continue exploring the possibilities of a chair that achieved comfort through the shape of its shell, not the depth of its cushioning. Initially, he began the investigation with designs for smaller fiberglass task chairs, but changed direction when Florence Knoll approached him and asked, “Why not take the bull by the horns and do the big one first? I want a chair that is like a basket full of pillows…something I can curl up in.” While that’s not exactly where Saarinen ended up, the suggestion inspired one of the most iconic, and comfortable, chairs of the modern furniture movement, The Womb Chair.

After completing the Womb Chair, Saarinen returned his focus to task seating, scaling down the concept and form of the womb into arm and armless chairs. Introduced as the 71 and 72 Series, the chairs replaced Florence Knoll’s model 43 chairs as the Planning Unit’s go-to seating solution. The iconic chair, often referred to as “that chair with the hole in the back,” has been a staple of the Knoll portfolio for more than 60 years.

Born to world famous architect and Cranbrook Academy of Art Director Eliel Saarinen and textile artist Loja Saarinen, Eero Saarinen was surrounded by design his whole life. By the time he was in his teens, Eero was helping his father design furniture and fixtures for the Cranbrook campus. After studying sculpture in Paris and architecture at Yale, Saarinen returned to Cranbrook in 1934.

It was at Cranbrook that Saarinen met Charles Eames. The two young men, both committed to exploring new materials and processes, quickly became great friends and creative collaborators. They worked together on several projects, most notably their groundbreaking collection of molded plywood chairs for 1940 competition Organic Design in Home Furnishings, sponsored by MoMA.

At Cranbrook, Saarinen also met Florence Knoll, who at that time was a promising young protégé of Eliel Saarinen. When Florence joined Knoll in the 1940s, she invited Eero to design for the company. Saarinen went on to design many of Knoll's most recognizable pieces, including the Tulip chairs and tables, the Womb chair, and the 70 Series of seating. In addition to these achievements, Saarinen became a leader of the second-generation modernists. Among his outstanding projects are the Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and New York's CBS Building and TWA Terminal at Kennedy International Airport.