The collection
White plastic shell chair with a red cushion supported by a slender stem and a flared circular base.

Armchair, Pedestal

Designed by
Eero Saarinen (1910–1961)
Aluminum with fused vinyl, fiberglass-reinforced polyester, polyurethane foam, nylon upholstery
Produced by
Knoll Associates, Inc., New York, New York
82 x 50.5 x 60.2 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gifts of Edgar Kaufmann, jr., by exchange, D92.169.2

The origins of this chair are in the molded shell designs that Saarinen and Charles Eames created in the 1940s, starting with their joint entry in the Museum of Modern Art competition Organic Design in Home Furnishings while students at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Each architect went on to create related designs on his own. Saarinen’s Pedestal chair is one of these.

Although this appears to be molded as a single unit entirely of plastic, its synthetic shell seat and back have a single support of vinyl-covered aluminum, an innovative replacement for the traditional four legs. This elegant chair, still produced by Knoll, is brilliantly integrated in the way that the individual parts flow seamlessly one into another.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Giles Rivest.