Born in Finland in 1910 Eero Saarinen immigrated with his family to the United States 13 years later.
Design was in his blood as his father, Eliel, was an Architect and lectured in the very buildings he had designed at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. As a young man Eero studied under his Father and attended courses in both sculpture and furniture design alongside fellow furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames with whom he formed lasting friendships, one of his sons is named Eames in recognition of the relationship that he had with his life long friend and often collaborator Charles.
Florence Knoll (nee Schust) was a friend to the whole Saarinen family and in the years to come the relationship with Florence and Hans Knoll also proved to be professionally fruitful as all of Saarinens' furniture designs that went into manufacture did so with the Knoll furniture company.
He went on to attend Yale University and after completion of his studies in 1934 toured Africa and Europe before returning to the US and taking up a position lecturing at Cranbrook alongside his father. It was whilst still working under his Father in 1940 that Eero first achieved critical acclaim winning first prize in the 'Organic Design in Home Furnishings' competition with a chair that he designed in collaboration with Charles Eames.
After his father's death in 1950 he took over the family architecture firm and changed its name to 'Eero Saarinen and Associates' whose many works include John F Kennedy International Airport and Dulles International Airport in Washington DC. He continued as principle of the company for the remainder of his life which was sadly cut short due to a brain tumour in 1961 when he was just 51 years old.
During his life Saarinen was often criticised as an architect, many believed that his lack of singular personal style was a weakness. The opposing point of view is the variability of his style was indicative of an extremely responsive designer who took on board modernist ideals but never lost sight of the differing needs of his clients and the functionality of his buildings.
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