Saarinen Tulip Table



2015-06-26 10:47:00

Saarinen Tulip tables are distinctive, functional tables as designed by Eero Saarinen.


Eero Saarinen (1910 – 1961) was a celebrated Finnish American architect and industrial designer. He is much-loved for varying his style according to the demands of a specific project: simple, sweeping, arching structural curves, as well as machine-like rationalism are stylistic trade marks.

Saarinen, his father and fellow chair designer Charles Eames received first prize in 1940 for a chair designed for the Organic design in Home Furnishings competition. This Tulip Chair, like all subsequent Saarinen furniture designs, was manufactured by the Knoll furniture Company.

The Knoll Furniture Company was founded by Hans Knoll. Knoll married Saarinen family friend Florence Schurst.

During his long and successful career, Saarinen won many fans with his bold, functional, “organic” furniture designs. The Womb chair, the Womb sofa, and the acclaimed Tulip series, which included dining, coffee and side tables as well as chairs and a stool, all proved popular with the designer furniture buying public.

The Grasshopper lounge chair, although a critical success, was a commercial failure.

Saarinen Tulip tables are still manufactured by Knoll.

Collecting information

Identifying a Saarinen Tulip table

The underside of any genuine Saarinen Tulip table will have been fitted with a chrome plaque, which will have been inscribed with the Knoll Studio, Eero Saarinen signature, as well as the year 1956.

Although unlikely, in a handful of cases, this plaque may have fallen off or been removed. If you suspect that this might be the case, the following may help to identify your table as genuine/replica:

  • The table should weight a considerable amount. Saarinen Tulip tables were made using moulded cast aluminium, which would then have been coated in rislan. Replicas will probably have been made using cheaper, more lightweight materials.

  • Saarinen Tulip tables are made from 6 different types of marble, 4 different types of wood veneer, or white laminate. No other materials are ever used.

  • Design specifications decree exact dimensions: a marble table top should measure 2cm in thickness; white laminate is 3cm thick.

  • Tables come in both circular and oval shapes and in a variety of sizes.

If any part of the design of your table is different from the above, it is a copy.

Price guide

A Saarinen Tulip Table with marble top, made by Knoll brought $500 at Michaan's Auctions in December 2012.

An American marble and cast aluminum Tulip Dining Table by Knoll, model 175TO, designed in 1957 by Eero Saarinen (1910-1961), the ovoid Nero Marquis marble top raised on a black flaring pedestal, the present example ca 1999: sold For $6,750 at New Orleans Auction Galleries, Inc. in July 2011.


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