“Sometimes, a chair is more than something to sit on. It might be a work of art or a precious heirloom with great sentimental value. To a collector, it could be a trophy object, while others may value its familiar and reliable comfort. The go-to chair in my living room, a reproduction of Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair and Ottoman, appeals in all these ways — a curvaceous ergonomic design in a molded fiberglass frame, padded and upholstered in fabric, and set on chrome legs to accommodate all the ways I sit in it: usually with my feet up on the ottoman and sometimes sideways across the arms of the chair. Its 1946 design responds to architect and fellow furniture designer Florence Knoll’s request for “a chair that was like a basket full of pillows,” something she could “really curl up in.”

The Womb Chair was the pinnacle of design, beautiful in form and function and embodying modernism’s spirit of experimentation and innovation. Seventy-five years later, it’s a midcentury classic, with Knoll reproductions and a variety of knockoffs still in high demand.

Although it’s not included in The Modern Chair, the season-long exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, Saarinen is represented by his iconic Tulip Chair. The show, drawn from museum’s collection as well as from other public and private collections, continues through April 3, 2022, and features 60 eye-popping and comfy-looking specimens spanning more than 100 years…”

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