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Article: Eero Saarinen and His Knoll Designs

Eero Saarinen and His Knoll Designs

Eero Saarinen and His Knoll Designs

Eero Saarinen was born in Finland 1910 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1923. Here he went on to become one of the most important designers of the 20th century. His designs are timeless and as relevant today as they were in the 1950s.

Eero Saarinen was an iconic modernist architect and furniture designer whose work had a lasting effect on design.

His ground-breaking designs range from pieces of furniture to large scale projects like the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The classic Tulip Chair being only one of many of Saarinen's celebrated contributions to modernism. To say his works have become iconic symbols of mid-century design would be to understate his achievements.

Eero had an eye for bold shapes and for innovative design techniques that pushed boundaries. He set new standards for modern architecture and furniture. He combined his signature curves with strong lines, to create timeless designs that continue to be revered today.

Saarinen has a design legacy reaching across a range of disciplines. Each one endures as a testament to his innovative spirit as well as the classic beauty of his work.

However, Eero Saarinen didn’t design the Ball Chair, he designed the Tulip Chair. Eero Aarnio designed the Knoll Ball Chair, so we shall discus him and his iconic chair instead.


The Eero Aarnio Ball Chair

Eero Aarnio is a world-renowned Finnish designer, whose illustrious career spans over fifty years. He has a portfolio that boasts some of the most iconic chair designs of the 20th century. A true visionary, he is credited with creating some of the most sought-after pieces of furniture in the world.

Born in Helsinki in 1932, Aarnio studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts before embarking on his career as a designer. His work is known for its innovative use of materials and its playful, sculptural forms. This is design that challenge traditional notions of what furniture can be.

The Ball Chair is an iconic piece of mid-centaury furniture designed by the renowned architect and designer, Eero Aarnio.  With a deep, comfortable seat, supported by a stylish pedestal base. It’s truly distinctive design, combing form, function, and comfort, made it a standout piece of furniture from day one.

The seat and back are constructed using moulded fiberglass. The mounted swivel base in a matching fiberglass with an integrated swivel mechanism. These design elements, combined with its signature round shape and curved design, gave it a unique profile.

It offered a comfortable seating solution ideal for both the home and the workplace. While its stylish design ensured it would fit in with any interior décor. Not only was it incredibly stylish, but its durable construction also made it a reliable and long-lasting piece of furniture. A style icon that would endure and enhance the visual aesthetic of any space.

In the decades since its conception, it has starred in countless movies and music videos. It has also graced the cover of countless magazines. The Ball chair is a design masterpiece that has gone on to become a staple in the collections of design museums around the world.


In his own words

“Well, the idea probably came from our need at home for a chair that would be large enough for both Pirkko and I to sit in together. And since I tend to simplify things, I removed all the corners."

My intention, once decided, was purely functional. To create the most practical form for this new material (fibreglass) I was working with. A sphere seemed the right shape for a strong and malleable material.”

But functionality alone would not suffice for the highly original Eero Saarinen. And so he declared: “I will make a chair that when it is put in a shop window, no one will just walk past it.”

These are Eero Aarnio’s own words and they are key to understanding how the design of the chair functions within different environments.


Final Say

The Ball Chair, designed in 1963, debuted at the Cologne Furniture Fair in 1966. The chair is one of the most famous and beloved classics of Finnish design. It was the international breakthrough of Eero Aarnio.

It's clear to see why the Eero Aarnio Ball Chair has endured the test of time. Its unique blend of style, form, and function make it an ideal choice for any modern interior, and its timeless appeal will ensure that this iconic design will be around for many years to come. The Eero Aarnio Ball Chair is a testament to what great design can achieve and serves as an inspiration to designers everywhere.

Despite being active for over fifty years, Aarnio continues to push the boundaries of design and remains a much-loved figure in the global design community. His designs have become true classics and have been exhibited in museums around the world. It is no surprise that Aarnio is widely regarded as one of the most significant figures in modern furniture design.

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