The Finnish-American architect and designer Eero Saarinen is known to be one of the pioneers of contemporary interior design, which feature clean lines, smooth shapes, and cohesive color-matching, usually natural but occasionally with a fun, bold splash of color. Saarinen’s Tulip line of furniture, debuting in the mid and late 1950’s, was intended to put it a new, sleek spin on the common furniture, which was mostly made of heavy, block-like structures, left over from the advent of industry from the turn of the century. As a result, the Tulip line is commonly regarded as one of the first true designers of mid-century modern and modern-contemporary home furnishings.
The hallmark of the Saarinen line, the Tulip Table, earned its name from the smooth, elegant stem that supports the tabletop, inspired by the slender lines of the flower and getting rid of the four thick legs that had heretofore been the only widely-available options for tables and other furniture. The original Tulip Table was designed to seat four people, and the pedestal-like stem supported a round or oval-shaped top that came in deep walnut or in white. Other Tulip Tables in his line came in varying sizes, with different colorations of the pedestal bases and the top of the table itself.
The iconic, timeless Tulip Tables have inspired plenty of replicas and spinoff lines from a countless number of designer brands and furniture manufacturers. The Tulip Table has been given new life as interior design and décor becomes even more modernized; for example, the famous table is now also available in a chic square shape in addition to its classic circular and oval shapes. Tulip Table replicas embody Saarinen’s vision and aesthetic while making the furniture more versatile. For instance, take the Tulip from your dining room to your living room with this Saarinen-inspired short Tulip coffee table, or break away from the classic white veneer and walnut finish to try a striking black or silver fiberglass.
However stylish, no table is complete without accompanying chairs and other décor, and the Tulip-inspired line is no exception. The Tulip has given rise to the likes of bar tables, side tables, even tripod-style tables instead of the usual single pedestal base, and each comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes. Tulip-inspired stools can be the perfect touch for your home, or perhaps these sleek chairs inspired by the shape of the tulip’s petal in addition to its lovely stem are just what you need to finish off the look. There’s even a dining chair with arms if you’re looking for a seat inspired by the whole blossom instead of a single petal.
The late Saarinen was a true trendsetter, highly precocious and ahead of his time. It can be difficult and extremely expensive to track down genuine Saarinen pieces, but fortunately, their replicas are readily available and easier than ever to incorporate into virtually any home. With their timeless elegance only emboldened by more options for sizes, tones, and shapes, a Tulip-inspired table and a few of those matching chairs can be just what your home needs!