Saturday, September 19

Why In Design Column: For The Love Of The Classic, Yet Modern Saarinen Tulip Table

Thoughts on the 
Saarinen Pedestal Table
 Kitchens I Adore pin board

While enthralled in a new york city kitchen renovation project the next couple of months, we are bringing you our choices for this all white, compact but stylish New York City kitchen.  Last week we shared thoughts in a story about our back splash choice, a classic white subway tile.  This week, we posted our favorite kitchen pendant light sources.  Today, we research the beautiful, simple, yet perfect Saarinen table which will complete this kitchen.  
Eero Saarinen, photo Wikipedia
To us, the perfect Tulip table is 42" round 
all white or white marble at Knoll

"Eero Saarinen was a
designer of the 20th century famous for shaping his neofuturistic style according to the demands of the project: simple, sweeping, arching, structural curves or machine-like rationalism." -- Wikipedia
photos via Kitchens I Adore board

Saarinen Pedestal table is making a strong comeback these days, but classic well-made designs have a way of staying close to our heart.  The versatility of this design melds well with myriad design aesthetics and unlike other mid century designs, it holds its own from generation to generation.  architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen developed this style in the 1950s.  This curvaceous and streamlined shape was perfected by the Finnish American designer/architect for furniture manufacturer Knoll in a series called the Tulip Collection.  Knoll still produces this table today, and it remains the most popular of the pieces from the Tulip collection.  A true Saarinen table is sturdy and beautifully engineered and meant to last generations.
The Original
Some say Euro Saarinen's original was created with a cast iron heavy base until technology allowed them to be perfected in aluminum, and most of the originals are in cast aluminum.  There are  two shapes (round or oval) with a few surface options from white, white marble to walnut.  
Original Construction
The original has definable qualities including no visible screws or seams anywhere with the base made of one piece of metal, almost always cast aluminum.  Construction is simple and well designed with a single rod and screw through the center of the base.  The top has a beveled edge and shapes are only round or oval.  There is a metal tag on the bottom of each table with the designer's signature and Knoll symbol. 
bringing the Tulip Table into this kitchen renovation for a client in 2013

There are various price ranges, modern interpretations of the original for those looking for the style but without the hefty budget.  Of course these copies range from high-end options all the way to inexpensive versions from sites such as Design Within Reach to bargain varieties at Ikea.  Be warned you get what you pay for here and there are varying interpretations of the original design created in almost wildly different shapes and materials.  The original will truly become a family heirloom so when possible I say go with the best.  
loving the contrast, Classic French chairs 
with the round, simple table 
Kitchens I Adore pin board 
a winning combination, 
Tulip table with banquet and wood framed chairs

How It Looks Best
To us, the simple lines of the round sculptural table looks particularly well in a kitchen coupled with one part upholstered banquet and one or two wooden chairs.  This softens the look.  I prefer the contrast of an all white Saarinen table with vintage school house chairs, Wishbone chairs or another simple antique wood variety perhaps French Classic aesthetics. 

Happy Nesting
XO Tamara