Eero Saarinen designed the groundbreaking Womb Chair at Florence Knoll's request for "a chair that was like a basket full of pillows - something she could really curl up in." The mid-century classic supports countless positions and gives a comforting sense of security—hence the name.
Like many of Saarinen’s furniture designs, the Womb Chair required production techniques and materials still in the infancy of their existence. Saarinen and Florence Knoll found a boat builder in New Jersey who was experimenting with fiberglass and resin to help develop manufacturing methods for the new chair. Florence Knoll: “He was very skeptical. We just begged him. I guess we were so young and so enthusiastic he finally gave in and worked with us. We had lots of problems and failures until they finally got a chair that would work.”
- Polyamide Dyed Throughout
- 5 Inch × 4.2 Inch × 3.7 Inch
- Each miniature is packaged in a wooden box, accompanied by an informational booklet.
- Each of the delicate objects are made by hand; on average, each miniature requires five hours of careful manual work. Ongoing quality control ensures that every miniature corresponds to its larger original in terms of finishing, details and materials.
Twenty years ago the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein began making miniature replicas of the great milestones in furniture design housed in its collection. A summary of the history of industrial furniture design – moving from the historic and art nouveau to the new Bauhaus’ radical design, and from postmodernism all the way up until the present day – the collection has grown to include more than 100 pieces. The chairs are all one sixth of the size of the originals. They are all true to scale and replicate the originals right down to the smallest details in construction, material and color.
Vitra Miniatures Womb Chair & Ottoman Designed by:
- Eero Saarinen , 1946
Finland, 1910 – 1961
Eero Saarinen, was born in 1910 in Finland and in 1923 the family emigrated to the US. He studied architecture at Yale, graduating in 1934. A Yale scholarship enabled Saarinen to travel to Europe but he returned to the US in 1936 to work in his father’s architectural practice. When his father died in 1950, Eero Saarinen took over the practice. Saarinen taught at Cranbrook Academy where he met Charles Eames in the late 1930s. Experimenting with Eames, Eero Saarinen co-developed new furniture forms and the first designs for furniture made of molded, laminated wood. In 1940 Saarinen and Eames took part in the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
For Knoll International Saarinen designed a great many pieces of furniture, including the 1948 Womb Chair, which was designed to make those seated in it feel as secure and cozy as a fetus in the womb. The Pedestal Group, dating from 1955-56, is collection of chairs and tables made of plastic and featuring only one central leg ending organically in a round disc on the floor. The very successful Tulip Chair belonged to this group. Eero Saarinen says he wanted to abolish the “miserable maze of legs.” In 1951 he designed the Saarinen Collection for Knoll, consisting of the still popular line of Executive Chairs. These chairs transformed the notion of what executive seating could be with its sculptural form and modern finishings.