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Saarinen Womb Chair

By: jwilde

Saarinen Womb Chair
Womb Chair by Eero Saarinen. Credit: tsailer 2019, for twentymod.com, All Rights Reserved.

Womb Chair Introduction

The Womb Chair was designed by Eero Saarinen, one of the most famous architects of the mid twentieth century. It was designed specifically for Knoll, Inc. and was put into production in 1948. And of course, it’s still being produced today.

The Womb Chair is a true mid century modern classic lounge chair designed for comfort.

If you are looking for a classic mid century modern accent chair for your den or living room, you can't go wrong with this chair.

The Womb Chair serves also as a gateway to the story of Knoll, the company that produced the chair, and architect Eero Saarinen, the designer of the Womb Chair.

Womb Chair History

The vision for the womb chair came from Florence Knoll. She wanted her friend Eero Saarinen to make the vision a reality. She described the chair as something "like a great big basket of pillows that I can curl up in."

Based on the vision, the goal was fairly clear, create a comfortable chair that could accommodate various relaxed seating positions. This would include space for your legs on the chair.

These requirements led Saarinen to experiment with a new material that used sheets of fiberglass with a resin coating. This fiberglass resin technique was just beginning to be used by the boat and automotive industries, but had not been used for furniture design. After several prototypes they came up with a design that would work, and the womb chair was born.

The Womb Chair became the first fiberglass chair to be mass-produced in America.

The Womb Chair quickly gained popularity and was featured in magazines and advertisements. In 1958, the Coca-Cola company created an advertisement featuring Santa Claus sitting in a Womb Chair sipping a refreshing bottle of Coca-Cola. In 1959, the Saturday Evening Post’s cover page was a Norman Rockwell painting of a man sitting in a Womb Chair while his wife and children walked single-file past him, clearly heading for the Sunday morning church service (See Saturday Evening Post, published May 16, 1959).

Eero Saarinen continued to design furniture for Knoll, such as 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.

The same year Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair went into production, he won a competition to design a memorial for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Saarinen's winning design was a massive arch, known today as the Gateway Arch of Gateway Arch National Park. Construction of the arch was completed in 1965.

Eero Saarinen’s Architectural Works

Eero Saarinen’s Architectural works include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri (1948. Completed in 1965), the Kresge Auditorium at MIT (1955), MIT Chapel (1956), the Dulles International Airport Terminal (1961) and the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport, New York (1962).

Sadly, Eero Saarinen never saw the construction and completion of many of the buildings he designed. The news must have been devistating. The was diagnosis was fatal, an inoperable brain tumor. He died at the young age of 51, on September 1, 1961.

One of the buildings Saarinen never saw completed was the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport.

The TWA Terminal was a marvel of modern design. It operated from 1962 to 2001. It ceased operation in 2001 when TWA went out of business.

In 2016 a project began that would turn the vacant TWA Flight Center building into an airport hotel.

On May 15, 2019 the new TWA Hotel opened.

The TWA Hotel retained the amazing futuristic design, which makes the hotel itself a destination for modern architecture (and furnuture) lovers.

The publicity of the new TWA Hotel is making the name Eero Saarinen known to a new generation.

The photo above, taken a few days after the opening, shows the Womb Chair from inside one of the TWA Hotel rooms.

Womb Chair Replica

Thankfully because of the long history and popularity of the Womb Chair it is easy to find Womb Chair replicas.

What makes a good replica is however, very subjective. A replica should be visually the same as the original and offer the same comfort as the original Womb Chair.

Below is a list of the most popular companies that offer a Womb Chair replica.

Manhattan Home Design

www.manhattanhomedesign.com/blog/who-makes-the-best-...

Modern Classics
www.modernclassics.com/products/buyers-guide-saarine...

INMOD
www.inmod.com/saarinen-womb-chair.html

Kardiel
www.kardiel.com/womb-chair-ottoman-red-boucle-cashme...
www.kardiel.com/collections/womb-series/

I'm sure there are other manufacturers and sellers, but this list will get you stared.

Summary

So there you have it. If you own a Womb Chair, you have quite a story to tell!

The Womb Chair is not just a chair, it’s a tribute to the idea that an object of good design has value far beyond the object itself. And Florence Knoll's mantra was always "Good design is good business."

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