The typical chair tends to be very… leggy. Take a peek under your table and chairs; chances are, legs abound. If you’re the minimalistic, streamlined type, all those legs bug you; they just clutter up the space.
That was Eero Saarinen’s inspiration when he created his now-iconic tulip chair (and, later, the matching table).
The Finnish-American architect wished to design a one-piece, integrated, “holistic” chair. His finished design: the sculpted tulip chair, which consists of a round base, single pedestal, and molded fiberglass seat (with or without armrests). It’s a fresh, lightweight piece that’s effortlessly stylish.
The chair base, made of durable cast aluminum with a nylon coating, may be stationary or swivel, but if it’s not round, it’s not a tulip chair – don’t settle for an impostor! Genuine tulip chairs have been manufactured exclusively by Knoll since the 1950s and are still as stylish as ever. The shell is designed to hold its occupant comfortably and ergonomically and features a removable cushion. The chair’s arms (or seat edge, in the absence of arms) curl gently, reminiscent of its floral namesake.
With its sleek shape and classic style, the tulip chair works in virtually every room, even with a mix of chairs or furnishings in other styles.
While the classic tulip chair is white, it’s also available in black; some prefer to paint them to match, but for many the colorful cushion is enough of a contrast.
Like the chair, the tulip table is versatile, minimalist, and stylish. It may be paired with matching or contrasting chairs and looks fabulous in any decor scheme.
The only downside: you’ll definitely pay for what you get. Tulip chairs start at over $1,300 (for an armless version); imitations are often not as durable or comfortable. But since tulip chairs have been around for decades, you may have luck scoring some secondhand!
Which chair style is your favorite?