Organic Design Chair

Posted October 8, 2013



Designed by Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames.

One of their FIRST PLACE PRIZE WINNING chairs in the category of “Seating” in the Museum of Modern Art’s ORGANIC DESIGN COMPETITION of 1941.

In one of the MOMA texts, this chair is referred to as a “relaxing” chair, which seems to distinguish it from another of the Eames-Saarinen competition entries which was known as a “conversation” chair.

This example is covered in fabric by MARLI EHRMAN, who won First Place in the category of with this and related fabrics in WOVEN TEXTILES.

This example was most likely on exhibition at MOMA and was possibly acquired by a member of MOMA’s staff afterwards.  MOMA archival records indicate that chairs were sold to family and friends when the exhibition closed.  Bloomingdale’s did an exhibition and sale of the prize winning ORGANIC DESIGNS, which included the “Conversation” height version of this chair.  In their catalog Bloomingdale’s referred to that as a “Revolutionary Body Moulding Chair by Saarinen and Eames.”

The metal braces on this example legs were added, and were not part of the original design, and were most likely added to stabilize the chair.  The fabric shows clear signs of many years of use.    Eames and Saarinen specified aluminum legs in their competition drawings and plans, which may have been able to sustain the radical angles, but wartime restrictions necessitated the substitution of wood legs in all of the exhibition models.

James Rega Collection