Author’s design: the works of the revolutionary master architects

Sep 29, 2020 | Useful tips

Timeless icons, unique pieces, revolutionary and timeless design. The greatest architects tell each other through their works, let’s discover together their stories and the creations that led them to be Masters of Design.

 

Becoming an icon, a master for international design is truly a great recognition, behind which dedication, innovation and above all genius are hidden. The pieces produced are no longer considered a simple “furniture”, but become real works of art.

Eero Saarinen, Le Corbusier and Charles Eames are real artists, pioneers of art and design: let’s discover together their works and the stories that accompany them.

Eero Saarinen: history and works

Eero Saarinen is a Finnish architect, naturalized in the United States. His artistic life began in Paris in 1929, where he began studying sculpture. Subsequently, his attention turned to architecture, which he studied in the famous Yale University and carried on working in his father’s architecture studio. His artistic life developed with that of his friend Charles Eames; both in fact participated together in the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1940: Eames and Saarinen’s organic armchair won the prize.

His best-known architectural works are: the Jefferson National Memorial, the Kresge auditorium and the chapel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His last two most well-known architectural projects are the TWA Terminal of John F. Kennedy Airport in New York (the same has recently been converted into a Hotel) and the Terminal of Washington Dulles International Airport, which were started by Saarinen, but which he failed to conclude, as he died following brain surgery in 1961.

The “Tulip” collection

Among the timeless icons in the world of design we find the Tulip chair, designed between 1955 and 1956. Still highly appreciated today, it rests on a circular base from which a simple “stem” that supports the seat starts, composed in a single shell and with padding.

The Tulip furniture collection is Saarinen’s attempt to solve the problem of the “legs” and eliminate the visual and aesthetic confusion of the same. Carrying on his concept and his vision of “organic furniture” (ie the furniture in a single shape and in a single material, shared with his friend Charles Eames), he managed to create an entire collection of furniture, extremely clean from the point aesthetic and formal.

Tulip series, table and chairs by Eero Saarinen

There are doubts about the chronology of the series of tables with pedestal, but it is certain that the chairs were developed before the tables. Saarinen was said to have started drawing chairs around 1953, while Don Petit, Saarinen’s assistant, appears to have said that the first drawings were made in 1955 and the final versions of the chairs were finished in 1956. Work on the tables began after 1956 and it was the last series of furniture designed by Saarinen before his untimely death in 1961.

The Tulip series is composed of an armchair, a stool and a round coffee table. All the pieces in the collection have a single central pedestal and are considered a real milestone in the world of design.

Charles Eames: history and works

 

Charles Ormond Eames was an American designer, architect and director. As previously mentioned, he was a friend and collaborator of Eero Saarinen with whom he shared studies, works and passion for design.

“Lounge Chair & Ottoman” (art.716 + 717):

This armchair with footrest (technically called Lounge Chair & Ottoman) is, of course, not only the best known piece of Charles and Ray Eames (his wife he married in 1941), but also one of the most famous modern armchairs.

As a “status symbol” it reaches the level of the armchair that Mies Van Der Rohe created for the Barcelona Pavilion. It is also famous for being one of the most luxurious and comfortable modern armchairs ever produced. It will represent a significant contribution by the Eames to the modern design of the fifties, freed from the austere and geometric forms of the design of the twenties, towards sculpted and organic forms.

The remarkable five-star base in black painted aluminum with polished upper part was the first die-cast aluminum base designed by Eames, and is one of the most characteristic parts of the armchair.

The Eames Lounge Chair was the first chair designed for a high-end market. Examples of these furnishings are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern art in New York (MOMA). The Eames believed that design addressed necessity. In this case, necessity was a “special refuge from the tensions of modern life”.

Le Corbusier: history and works

 

Le Corbusier, pseudonym of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris, is considered among the most influential and prominent figures in the history of contemporary architecture. Born in 1887, he was a Swiss-born French architect, urban planner, painter and designer.

At the beginning of his career, he found skepticism in his works, since they were considered too revolutionary and subversive in appearances; nevertheless, his particular conception of design earned him a vast professional recognition.

The designer Le Corbusier was one of the first architects to turn his attention to the design and functionality of what was being designed. The Swiss architect had the goal of being able to propose a new way of living everyday spaces both through innovative projects and through the furnishings that complemented it. His projects have made the history of European design.

The “Lampe de Marseille” and the “Projecteur” lamp:

La Lampe de Marseille was designed between 1949 and 1952, so named after the project for the Unitè d’Habitation for which it was designed. Made of aluminum, its design reminds us that it is deliberately inspired by industrial lighting lamps and therefore its design is simple and essential.

To characterize the design of the Lampe de Marseille, is the turned aluminum diffuser with two reflectors that direct the light beam in the opposite direction, thus creating a double effect of brightness: direct and diffused. The joints positioned on the arm allow rotation making it orientable where necessary, despite being anchored to the wall.

The essential aesthetics of this lamp has allowed it to keep intact its “great classic” charm over time, capable of lasting over time and never going out of fashion; also made in the Lampe de Marseille Mini version, it maintains all its qualities intact even in the reduction in scale.

Among the best architectural projects by Le Corbusier, we also find the Projecteur lamp, designed by Le Corbusier to illuminate the High Court of Chandigarh in India in 1954. This essential and modern design lamp lends itself to an ideal light source in any interior and exterior, a piece of contemporary and versatile design.

Currently produced by Nemo, it is available in the standard and mini versions, for indoor and outdoor environments, adjustable, clamp, wall and suspension. The lamp body is in painted aluminum, the diffuser glass is rounded and sandblasted internally.

Projecteur 365 suspension lamp by Le Corbusier

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