The Story Behind The Womb Chair & Ottoman

Posted by Manhattan Home Design on Aug 7th 2020

The Womb Chair reproduction takes after one of the most famous chairs emerging from the mid-20th century modern movement in arts and design. Designed by Finnish-American industrial designer Eero Saarinen, this chair had quickly picked up household name status after its 1948 release. This iconic chair and ottoman has an interesting history behind its creation, one that involved several designers involved, a boat builder and an insatiable hunger to herald n originality.

It was a fellow designer that prompted Eero Saarinen to create his epic womb chair and ottoman. Designer Florence Knoll met Eero Saarinen at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. She opined her idea that architects should lend their ideas to furniture, having asked Saarinen to construct a lounge chair. By then, Knoll had already operated in a successful furniture company with her husband. Knoll was discontented with the then lounge chairs, which were notoriously long and narrow. Knoll requested a chair that could remain comfortable in any sitting position.

From the onset, Saarinen wanted to create a large chair, one that defied the standards of lounge chairs at the time. For Saarinen, comfort begins at the shell of a chair; he thus concentrated on the shape of the body rather than concerning with the cushioning of the chair. After generating a prototype, Saarinen sought to find the proper materials for the chair. But his methods of putting the chair together were not well-established, and made finding a material provider hard to come by. With the help of Florence Knoll, Saarinen convinced a boat-builder who used fiberglass and resin to join his womb chair project.

The boat builder was skeptical of the project, with Saarinen’s young age and rookie designer status. After much pleading, the boat builder gave in and worked with Saarinen to manufacture the chair. The production of the lounge chair was completed in 1946. The first model featured a padded shell and was composed of fiberglass, bolstered by a chrome steel frame.

It was first named No.7, but a chair as creative as Saarinen’s begged for an equally creative name. Saarinen renamed the chair to the Womb Chair, a nod to his cynical belief that “a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb.” The chair was meant to provide comfort by way of flexibility of position and the large shell had a womb-like quality, supporting its name.

As aforesaid, following the Womb Chair’s 1948 release, it accrued household name status, having been a fast seller and appearing in various media. In 1958, the Coca-Cola company advertised their drink by having a Santa Claus sipping it from a Womb Chair. The Chair was featured in a cartoon in the popular cultural magazine New Yorker. Even the great contemporary artist Norman Rockwell incorporated the chair in his cover art of the Saturday Evening Post, another cultural outlet.

Currently, the Womb Chair & Ottoman continues as a beloved mid-century modern fixture, a perfect addition to any room. Its curved shape, arms rests and ottoman help create a comfy haven in any indoor space. Our womb chair replica follows the original specifications, topped with genuine, luxurious for a truly augmented lounging experience.