Originally, the design of the Tulip table and chairs came straight from the imagination and intelligence of a Finnish architect, Saarinen. As a teenager, he often helped his father design furniture. He went on to study architecture at Yale and taught it in Michigan. When he decided to design a furniture collection he wanted to create something that had never been done before: a chair with only one leg. That was in 1955.
A successful bet, the chair was a phenomenal success from its first appearances. Thus, soon after, he created the Tulip tables. This lack of legs on the table provides visual lightness but also allows people to gather around the table without being encumbered by table legs. Streamlining the base of the table resulted in a clean, classic and decidedly modern look that had not been seen elsewhere at the time. The wide variety of finish options, from laminate to marble to wood, makes it the perfect table for any decor.
But of the entire Tulip line, it is the chair that best evokes the organic form that inspired it. The gentle curve of the cup formed by the flower's petals is echoed in the rounding of the backrest (and arms in the armchair version). The seat follows the almost flat underside of the flower, then merges into the deceptively delicate stem, carrying the exquisite arch to the base. All of this is absolutely deliberate and intentional, recalling the architectural forms Saarinen used for the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and Washington Dulles International Airport.