Absolutely stunning and rare set of Eliel Saarinen collection Mid-Century Modern inlaid dining/side chairs. Designed by the famous designer Finnish Architect Eliel Saarinen in 1929 for his home at Cranbrook Academy of Art. Fourteen original chairs were originally produced and this set of four are original reproductions and made by Arkitektura Inc. Charles Phipps & Sons Lexington Michigan circa 1980s under license from Cranbrook Academy of Art and Saarinen Family Estate.
Featuring beautiful five-paneled, gently curved scalloped high backs of solid polished maple with striking ebonized satinwood lacquer inlay, reminiscent of Eliel’s delicately veneered style. (The seats are newly upholstered in a stunning, sophisticated, complimenting grey fabric and feature new foam, resting on a contrasting maple apron and tapered black lacquered legs. Makers numbered metal plate and serial no. is present on the underside of two chairs (Manufacturer by Charles Phipps & Sons Lexington, Michigan). Eliel Saarinen was a Finnish artist and designer born 1873. After moving to the United States from Finland, he became a very important person in design history. As president of the renown Cranbrook Academy of Art (CAA) in Michigan and later the director of Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the CAA, the Saarinen House, Saarinen´s project — has been hailed as one of the most significant residential projects in America. From the architecture to furnishing each detail was planned by the master himself. In this famous building, the dining room which is now a museum, represents best the masterful use of geometry and color. The profile is dazzling from every angle, and the artistry evocative of this revolutionary architect and designer. These spectacular chairs will bring a flair of Mid-Century Modern glam to any table…dining room or conference room!
Condition Report: Sturdy construction: new upholstery and foam inserts; lacquered wood shows minimal wear.
Makers Label on Two Chairs: Arkitektura, Charles Phipps & Sons
Creator/Designer: Eliel Saarinen (1929)
Manufacturer: Arkitektura Inc., Charles Phipps & Sons
Place of Origin: Michigan, USA
Date of Manufacture:1980
Of the Period:1980-1989
Materials and Techniques: Solid Maple, upholstery
Condition: Good; new upholstery & foam
Wear: Wear consistent with age and use
Measurements: 37.8”H x 17.7”W of front X 15.3″ W of back x 18.9”D; Seat H 18”
The Story Behind These Stunning Chairs.
While others would have been content to rest on their laurels after a successful career in the country of their birth, Eliel Saarinen saw a future away from his native Finland. In 1923, at the age of fifty, he sailed to America in search of a new architectural frontier. Soon thereafter, while a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, Eliel Saarinen had the good fortune to befriend George G. Booth, a newspaper magnate and patron of the arts. Booth found in Saarinen a man sympathetic to his dreams of a vast educational center to be developed at Cranbrook, his 260 acre estate twenty miles north of Detroit. Saarinen found the ideal patron in Booth – sensitive, respectful and appreciative of good design.
For the next 25 years, Saarinen devoted his creative energies to an academic community that soon grew to include the Cranbrook School for boys, the Kingswood School for girls, an Academy of Art, and a Science institute. Saarinen carefully transformed a raw and gentle landscape of existing farm buildings and yards into an extraordinary visual delight. Saarinen constructed a hierarchy of form, function, and purpose. He saw space as a totality, believing that an object should be designed within its next largest context; a brick within a wall, a chair within a room, a room within a house, a house within a street, etc.
In addition to the furnishings for the Cranbrook School itself, Saarinen constructed a residence for his family from 1928-1930. One of the most important rooms in the house was the octagonal dining room. Paneled in a honey-color oak with niches in each corner, the space featured an inlaid table surround by chairs with fluted backs. The fluted backs were like petals on a flower next to the elaborate table. This chair fit perfectly with the table and the dining set was a perfect fit to the room.