iconic 20th century furniture designers and their children

While researching for a blog connected to Father's Day, I came across interesting facts and trivia concerning iconic designers and their children...... Eero Saarinen, Finland's famous designer son, was born on his father's 37th birthday in 1910. Like his father, world famous architect Eliel Saarinen, Eero was an eminent architect but also a talented furniture designer. He is best known for his iconic Womb Chair and his Pedestal Collection of furniture, which included the iconic Tulip Chair, Saarinen Dining Table and Saarinen Side Table. An interesting fact ties Florence Knoll into the Saarinen family: Florence was orphaned in 1927 at the age of 12 and cared for by a family friend. She was given the choice of going to boarding school or Kingswood, which was designed by Eliel Saarinen. It held a strong aesthetic appeal for her and so began her relationship with the Saarinen family which was to have a huge influence on her life. She studied at school under both Eliel Saarinen and his wife Loja and then was encouraged by Eliel to attend the famous Cranbrook Academy of Art to gain experience in all aspects of design. She became part of their family, spending summers in Europe with them. While  Eero Saarinen designed the Womb Chair, it was a creative collaboration between him and Florence Knoll that brought the design to fruition.




Danish designer and architect Arne Jacobsen is famous for designing the iconic Egg Chair and Swan Chair. Growing up, his father pushed him to become an architect rather than follow his passion for painting, which is our gain as perhaps he never would have designed the SAS Hotel in Copenhagen or its iconic furnishings, (eg, the iconic Egg Chair, Swan Chair and AJ Lamp.). At home, Jacobsen was a perfectionist and suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His children reminisced how coffee cups would have to be lined up in perfect geometrical rows and all of their toys put away before Dad came home from work. It wasn't all serious in the Jacobsen household however and happily Arne was known for his zany sense of humour and practical jokes.


Irishwoman Eileen Gray (1878 - 1976) is perhaps the biggest surprise of all, being a woman in a man's world at the turn of the 20th century. She was a prolific avant garde designer who expressed her artistic sensibility in painting, lacquerwork, interior decoration and architecture and is now perceived as a "total" designer. She is probably most famous for her E1027 Adjustable Table, designed between 1926 - 1929. Her father,an aristocratic artist named James McLaren Smith was a huge influence on her growing up and encouraged his daughter to cultivate her artistic talent.  This led her to pursue her artistic career at The Slade School of Fine Art London and then at art college in Paris.



BlogCarol-Anne Leyden