The only way a replica can take place is by following designs of iconic furniture pieces that transcended in time. The Womb Chair & Ottoman made it to the 21st century more than 60 years after the Finish-American designer Eero Saarinen had the idea to make it happen.
Dreamed basket full of pillows that designer Florence Knoll requested back then, is now alive and standing. However, like many incredible ideas, it had a long way to go, which required many hands to work and different heads to think.
Eero Saarinen before the Womb Chair
World acclaimed Eero Saarinen was born in the Republic of Finland within the year 1910. Saarinen is acknowledged for his innovations, style and for the controversies that enclosed his work. This architecture icon pushed the boundaries of design and created new styles in each project he worked on.
An artist first steps
It all started when Eero’s family moved to the USA when he was thirteen years old. Encouraged by his father Eliel Saarinen, who was a prominent figure in the American (and European) art circles of the time and his mother Loja Gesellius, a very famous sculptor, Eero started working at a very young age.
Later on, after graduating from Yale, he started his long-road career by working on several remarkable projects such as the design of architectural icons like St Louis Gateway Arch in Missouri, CBS building in New York and the TWA flight center in John F. Kennedy international airport.
Yet, it wasn’t until he decided to follow the footsteps of his father by joining the Cranbrook Academy of Arts in Michigan, that he was going to start crafting furniture innovations. Indeed, while studying in the Academy, he became friends with different mid-century modern designers and nowadays figures, including Harry Bertoia, the Eames couple, and Florence Knoll.
The road to a basket full of pillows
As you may know, Saarinen was the designer. But, he wasn’t the one who came up with the idea that made it happened.
We’ll have to go back to the 1940s when Florence Knoll got into the manufacturer world of designer furniture by joining her husband’s famous company Knoll Studio.
Knoll, was a genius furniture designer, who’s objective was bringing high-quality pieces from Europe to America. Through her company, she helped unfold and popularize the design style that we all know as mid-century modern nowadays. Eero’s happened to be her teacher from the Crankbook Academy.
Later on, tired of regular lounge designs, Mrs. Knoll asked Eero to build a chair meant for resting:
“I told Eero I was sick and tired of the one-dimensional lounges…long and narrow…” she said, “I want one where I can sit in sideways or any other way I want to sit in it.”
The brief, was certainly a little unconventional for the time: “I want a chair that is like a basket full of pillows, something I can curl up in.”
Saarinen issued his current new challenge.
The Womb was born
Known for his futuristic style, one of the first decisions Eero made for this seat was that it shouldn’t have to rely on excessive padding to be comfy. Instead, he devised a curved inner frame that would mold to the contours of the human body, providing natural comfort.
Once he was proud of the prototype, Eero required to source materials for his new design. However, since those he’d chosen weren’t immediately on the market, it came out to be a troublesome task.
Eventually, he half-tracked down a boat builder in New Jersey, who knew about working with fiberglass and persuaded him to help.
Then, in 1948 the iconic comfortable seat was born. Originally named No. 70, it presently became referred to as the womb attributable to its snug, organic look.
The final design included a comfortable ottoman that followed the same fiberglass construction vision.
Future of mid-century modern furniture
Nowadays, Eero Saarinen and Florence Knoll’s legacy lives among us through their furniture creations, reproduced into thousands of high-quality replicas.
Eero’s other designing icons beside the Womb Chair & Ottoman, including the Tulip Dining Table, Tulip Dining Chair and the Executive Chair, are still as sought-after today as they were in the 1950s. Mid-century modern popularity exploded in the 1980s after people got into vintage design and the hype has increased with time. The future of this seat lives now in several lobbies, living rooms, offices, bedrooms, just like Eero saw it raised during its 1948 boom.
After his death on September 1st of 1961, knock offs that ruled the market kept Eero’s memory through furniture replicas by respecting his design and materials, just like Manhattan Home Designs and other stores like Barcelona Designs do now.
Do you own one of our replicas? Comment your experience below!