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Then & Now: Knoll Tulip Chair

January 18, 2012

We have a rustic wood kitchen table in the dining area of our kitchen. I believe my mom found it at a flea market and it lived in my brother’s room for years until I needed a kitchen table in NY. I’ve been working to strip the paint off of and finish the matching chairs, but slowly a change of heart set in. 

Wood and the Knoll Tulip chair. There aren’t many things more striking and in such wonderful balance of one another. I’ve been looking for my own set to pair with our sweet country table. If nothing else, they will be a comfortable improvement to the folding chairs we have now.

You probably have heard of, or at least seen, the Tulip chair before. It was designed in 1955 and 1956 by Eero Saarinen for Knoll. Since then there have been many reproductions and I recently found this most intriguing update by Jeorjia Shea; a hand drawn reproduction Tulip chair. 

If you are looking for a vintage Knoll Tulip chair, manufactured in the US, I read here that you should look for BR51 stamped in the base. Never fear if the vintage ones you find are a little out of sorts, there is hope for restoration. The reproduction Tulip chairs are pretty darn close looking to the Knoll design and since Knoll has also been manufacturing the design since the 50’s, it would be quite easy to mistake a reproduction or a more recently produced chair for its original mid century predecessor.

Wood and Tulip Photo 1 and Photo 2, Vintage Eero Saaranin Tulip chairs by Knoll, Hand-drawn reproduction Tulip chair by Joerjia Shea, Tulip Chair DrawingEero Saarinin photo.

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