The Womb Chair: How Eero Saarinen Aided the Maladjustment to Civilization

Aug 20, 2022

ero Saarinen, a Finnish-born American architect, led the experiential nature of furniture design in the 1950s. As a designer, Saarinen vowed to challenge the structural and aesthetic problems of a chair. Following his award-winning partnership for a molded plywood chair with Charles Eames, he created the Womb Chair.

Created in 1946, the Womb Chair reinvented the idea of comfort. Saarinen carried out Florence Knoll’s request of creating a chair that resembled “a basket full of pillows.” The chair’s unique design accommodates any type of sitting posture paired with perfectly heightened armrests.

The Womb Chair is quite literally named after its structure. Saarinen intended to mimic the shape of a womb. “It was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb,” Saarinen explained.

Knoll challenged him to create a chair where she could lounge any which way. It’s glass fiber shell and foam rubber and fabric upholstery combated that challenge. Upon its release in 1948, the Womb Chair quickly became a staple among society. In a Coca-Cola advertisement, Santa Clause is seen drinking a coke in a Womb Chair.

Nearly 75 years later, the Womb Chair continues to captivate its consumers. Its design is customizable down to the frame finish. Consumers can choose from a variety of upholstery types, colors, and finishes.

In an Architectural Digest review, they claim, “Sometimes, a chair is just a chair. But that’s not the case here: This chair is first-class seating all the way.”

This mid-century piece is adaptable to almost any space whether it be in the home, office, or elsewhere. In the years following its release, Knoll created an accompanying ottoman for maximum comfort. In addition, the Womb Settee is a couch-like version of the original chair fit for two.

In our office, the Womb Chair is located right at the entrance. When clients arrive, they are introduced to the historical work of Eero Saarinen and how it has evolved since the 1950s. They may even choose to test out the “first-class” seating experience themselves.

To learn more about the Womb Chair and its finishes, click here.

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