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Saarinen Womb Chair and Ottoman

Designed by Eero Saarinen, 1946

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.” This mid-century classic supports countless positions and offers a comforting oasis of calm—hence the name.” A person never sits in one stationary position. It is ridiculous to work out a theoretical one position chair.” Eero Saarinen

The Womb Armchair collection consists of four elements, they are: the Womb armchair, the Womb armchair in the medium version, the armchair-footrest set and a stand-alone footrest. The sweeping form offers endless postures and extra room for elbows, books or tablets. Soft lines and organic shapes invite you to sit, curl or cuddle.

The seat shell is made of molded fiberglass covered with foam, the legs are made of steel tubes, finished in polished chrome, polished 18K gold or powder coated black. The chair is available in a wide range of Knoll Textiles and Spinneybeck® leathers.

Details

FEATURES

Eero Saarinen’s 1948 Womb chair, made exclusively for Knoll, displays the Finnish-born designer’s flair for challenging rules, breaking molds and setting new standards for modern design. The Womb chair is available in three sizes: standard, medium and small. The standard and medium size have an accompanying ottoman. The Knoll logo is stamped into the structure of the chair and the ottoman.

CONSTRUCTION

The chair is constructed of foam over a moulded, reinforced fibreglass shell.

The ottoman is constructed of foam cushion over moulded plywood platform.

Includes separate seat, back and ottoman cushions of polyester fibre with foam core.

Both chair and ottoman feature stainless steel and nylon articulating glides.

FINISHES

The base features a steel rod legs with polished chrome finish.

Upholstered in a range of fabrics. These products are available with foam that meets requirements for BS5852.

Dimensions

SAARINEN WOMB CHAIR AND OTTOMAN

Chair 106cm W x 94cm D x 92cm H with seat height of 45cm.

Ottoman 63cm W x 52cm D x 42cm H.

Product Story

After winning the Museum of Modern Art Organic Design Competition with Charles Eames for their experiments with bent plywood in 1941, Eero Saarinen was eager to continue exploring the possibilities of a chair that achieved comfort through the shape of its shell, not the depth of its cushioning. Initially, he began the investigation with designs for smaller fiberglass task chairs, but changed direction when Florence Knoll approached him and asked, “Why not take the bull by the horns and do the big one first? I want a chair that is like a basket full of pillows…something I can curl up in.” While that’s not exactly where Saarinen ended up, the suggestion inspired one of the most iconic, and comfortable, chairs of the modern furniture movement.

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.”

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