Tulip chair

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Tulip chair
Tulip med.jpg
Colors: White frame. Cushion red (cushion variable).
Designer Eero Saarinen
Date 1956
Materials Aluminium base, Fiberglass frame. Leather or fabric cushions.
Style / tradition Modernist
Height 80 cm (31 in)
Width 50 cm (20 in)
Depth 56 cm (22 in)

The Tulip chair was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1955 and 1956[1] for the Knoll company of New York City.[2] It was designed primarily as a chair to match the complementary dining table. The chair has the smooth lines of modernism and was experimental with materials for its time. The chair is considered a classic of industrial design.

The chair is often considered "space age" for its futuristic use of curves and artificial materials.

Design and Construction[edit]

Saarinen said: "The undercarriage of chairs and tables in a typical interior makes an ugly, confusing, unrestful world. I wanted to clear up the slum of legs. I wanted to make the chair all one thing again."[3]

Saarinen had hoped to produce the chair as a one piece unit made entirely of fiberglass, but this material was not able to support the base, and prototypes were prone to breakage. As a result, the base of the tulip chair is of cast aluminum with a rilsan-coated finish to match the upper shell, giving the appearance of a single unit. The upper shell is molded fiberglass, with a reinforced, plastic bonded finish.[1] The upholstered foam cushion is removable with Velcro fastening.[2]

Saarinen was awarded a patent for the Tulip chair in 1960.


  • Museum of Modern Art Award, 1969[2]
  • Federal Award for Industrial Design, 1969[2]
  • Design Center Stuttgart Award, 1962[2]

Project Cybersyn[edit]

In 1971 a modified form of the Tulip Chair was used in the design of Project Cybersyn[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Eero Saarinen. Tulip Armchair (model 150): 1955-56". Museum of Modern Art. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "KnollStudio Tulip Chair". knoll.com. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  3. ^ Ronan, Alex (January 28, 2015). "Design Dictionary: Tulip Chair". Dwell magazine. 
  4. ^ Free As In Beer: Cybernetic Science Fictions accessed April 7, 2012