Revolutionary & Resonant since 1948: Knoll Iconic Womb Chair

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Knoll’s instantly recognizable and culturally significant Womb Chair.

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Designed by Eero Saarinen at the behest of Florence Knoll in 1948, the Womb Chair defied the era’s conventions of what a chair could be, both in the techniques and the technology that allowed for its form, and ultimately, in its nonprescriptive function.

Said Florence Knoll at the time, “This was at my specific request because I was sick and tired of those chairs that held you in one position… I said, ‘Why not take the bull by the horns and do the big one first?’ That’s what happened… I wanted a chair that was like a basket full of pillows…I wanted something I could curl up in.”

The idea behind the Womb Chair’s initial design intent — to answer our primal need for unbound comfort — continues to resonate across generations. In a 1949 letter to J. Irwin Miller, Saarinen explained that the chair’s “was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb.” The Womb chair is still manufactured to its original design and continues to be a top seller for Knoll.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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