The designer chair that will make you cry like a baby: The Saarinen Womb Chair

Hello again and welcome to

Welcome to What’s in a Name Wednesday!

Where we take a look at some of the best known names in Design and inspect what makes them stand the test of time.

Last week we examined the "Chair of Chairs", the No. 14 Thonet Bistro chair. This week we are wrapping our heads around the No. 70 chair that actually returns the favor and wraps itself around us.

The No. 70 chair designed by Eero Saarinen is better known and loved by the name the' Womb Chair". No explanation necessary, take a look below with Saarinen himself lounging in the womb:




Saarinen's designs fit into the movement called "post-modernist". In a nutshell, Modernist design was based on the revered principle of Form follows Function. This meant that the shape and style took a backseat to a piece serving the function that it is designed to serve. Most of the time this mentality extended to mean that if an element wasn't necessary for the function it was superfluous and should be deleted altogether. The other driving factor behind Modernism was that it celebrated the new technology and materials that had been made possible by the industrial revolution.

As this Modernist mentality was absorbed by the mainstream, they adopted the clean lines and the technology but began to crave softness along with their high-tech. That's where Saarinen and the Mid-Century gurus come in. Where the modernists and le Corbusier called buildings "machines for living", Saarinen suggests that "The purpose of architecture is to shelter and enhance man’s life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence.”  a sentiment that is reflected in his furniture design as well. This is more than function. Function itself is paramount but better carried out when paired with beauty and when integrated as a piece in the larger picture of our lives.

To this end, Saarinen designed what Florence Knoll (who commissioned the chair in the first place) described as the “curling chair.” This gorgeous undulation of upholstery is designed for lounging back, tucking your feet underneath you and opening up a good book. Designed in 1946 and produced in 1948, Saarinen himself, in what was undoubtedly a tongue-in-cheek remark, explained that '“its unofficial name is the Womb chair because it was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb.” Clearly the very word womb, so different from the intimidating technical vocabulary of modern design, seems well suited to disarming consumer resistance: a chair that satisfied such a basic human need could not be all that threatening.'


Take a look at this beauty. (And stay tuned for my new branding which let me lounge around in one for the afternoon - I wanted to cry like a baby when I had to give it wonder the call it the womb chair.) To buy, contact Knoll.


Brooklyn Heights Apartment



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All my best to you – create spaces you love so much they actually love you.



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