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Womb Settee

Eero Saarinen 1948

A Womb Chair fit for two. We are very pleased to welcome the Womb Settee back to the Knoll line up. The design went out of production, but never out of style. The double-wide design is the perfect modern refuge for the living room or office.

 

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    Details

    Construction and Details
    • Seat shell is foam-covered molded fiberglass
    • Base is steel rod with polished chrome or black paint
    • Womb Settee is certified Clean Air GOLD
    Additional options available by phone (See below)
    • View Approved KnollTextiles
    • Available in a range of Spinneybeck® leathers

    Dimensions

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    Interested in finishes, sizes or combinations not available above?
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    Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1948, the fit-for-two settee was not part of the designer's famous trio—the Model 70 Womb Chair, Model 71 Executive Arm Chair and Model 72 Executive Armless Chair—but, rather, developed in anticipation of Saarinen’s first big architectural commission: The General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan—a twenty-five-building complex that required furnishings for over 5,000 people.

    Knoll decided to revisit the design in 2012. Design Director Benjamin Pardo remembers it as a trying experience. “We encountered all the same challenges they had in the late 1940s,” says Pardo. Like many of Saarinen’s furniture designs, the Womb Settee required production techniques and materials still in the infancy of their existence. Intended to stand up to heavy use within a corporate interior, the flexibility of the plastic shell, an asset in the Model 70 and 72 designs, proved problematic in the Model 73. Ultimately, Pardo and his team prevailed and the piece was welcomed back in 2015.

    Of the clumsy, oversized models the Womb Settee was designed to replace, Saarinen wrote, “These dreadnaughts [have] disappeared from modern interiors partly because they were designed for an era that tried to impress by sheer mass.”  While such robust forms may have gone out of vogue, Saarinen saw their necessary function as timeless: “The need for such chairs has not passed. Today, more than ever, we need to relax.”

    Discover the story behind the Womb Settee

    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.

     

     

    Discover the Saarinen Collection
    in the Archive

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