The Womb armchair celebrates 75 years

Designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, the Womb armchair challenged conventions of what a chair should be, from its organic silhouette to its innovative use of materials. After winning MoMA's 1941 'Organic Design in Home Furnishings' competition with Charles Eames, Saarinen was eager to continue exploring the possibilities of a chair that offered comfort through its shell rather than the amount of padding.

Initially, Saarinen began his work by creating small fiberglass office chairs, but changed direction when Florence Knoll, the brand's creative director, approached him and asked him to create an armchair where a person could really relax. A piece that challenged the way in which armchairs at the time encouraged women to sit upright, with ankles crossed and hands overlapping. "I told Eero that I was fed up with one-dimensional armchairs... long and narrow. I want an armchair in which it is possible to sit sideways or in any other way", she told him in 1946. His friend and collaborator agreed, noting the need of a "large and really comfortable armchair to take the place of the old upholstered chairs", one that would adapt to the modern interiors they created.

Eero Saarinen, who before becoming an architect had intentions of studying sculpture, created a piece where the three-dimensionality of the form took on a special emphasis. Initially collaborating with a shipbuilder, who worked with fiberglass and resin, and after many iterations and prototypes, the armchair was perfected, debuting on the market in 1948 as model 70, which would later become known as the 'Womb Chair'. '.

Just like in the beginning, the Knoll armchair is still produced by hand today. From shaping the shell to the perfect seams, the team of highly experienced artisans continues to follow the same careful method to create one of the iconic pieces of 20th century design. Its immediately recognizable shape and the ideas that gave rise to it respond to our primordial need to seek unlimited comfort, something that continues to make sense across generations.