For a long time, our shared object of desire has been a Tulip table by one of the most famous Finnish designers Eero Saarinen (1910 - 1961). Introduced in 1958 by the manufacturer Knoll, the Tulip was part of the Pedestal collection, which consisted of several different sized tables and chairs.
Our dilemma has been that this beautiful table is available in various top materials, and we have had very divergent views on which one should we choose. Since the very beginning, Pekka has been insisting on marble, which Minna simply refuses even to consider preferring laminate instead. Finally after circling around the decision for months, the solution finally presented itself - once again in the form of an internet auction. Instead of marble OR laminate, it would be a Tulip with a teak top and black base.
|Tulip, Cherners, Artichoke and yes - a dachshund.|
The Dining Room Trio - the Tulip, the Cherners and the PH Artichoke really seem like a perfect match. First, it is remarkable that all three items date back to 1957 - 1958. Second, the black/wood color palette of the table and chairs complement each other in a very appealing way. Also, the oval shape of the table works really well with the shape of the Cherners. And the Artichoke is just simply fantastic. The only thing missing is a carpet underneath (we'll get back to that in due time).
The key design driver for the whole pedestal collection is the single base construction. In Saarinen's opinion under any table there usually was an ugly, confusing and unrestful world - the so called "slum of legs". With this notion he naturally referred to the conventional "four legs per item" construction which is very typical for furniture.
It took Saarinen and the product development team at Knoll five long years to finalize the revolutionary design. The single base construction creates an impression of a top loating in the air. It is actually quite amazing how a single, narrow base can steadily support such a large top as in the table we recently acquired. Measuring 245 x 137 cm our Tulip can easily accommodate 8 - 10 guests.
|Single supporting base|
It is actually funny that during all this time of intense collection of vintage furniture we have actually never owned an item by Saarinen or Knoll, which is one of the classic US manufacturers of design items for home, workplace and textiles. Founded in 1938 by Hans Knoll the company has produced several award winning designs by the top designers of the world.
For the 50th anniversary of the pedestal collection Knoll reintroduced rosewood (Santos Palisader) and teak table tops and subsequently made these line additions permanent. Items manufactured during the anniversary year (2007 - 2008) carry a special commemorative medallion. Ours seems to be one of these as indicated by the medallion underneath.
Not only is the base construction remarkable visually, but its ingenuity becomes truly evident when the table is used by diners. The single base allows everyone to sit comfortably around the table without being distracted by table legs. Chairs can thus be added to any side or position around the ellipse whenever required.
There is, however, an (unfortunate) downside to all this. Ideally a table of this size is meant for eight guests, but we only have six Cherners. A chair hunt ahead, perhaps?
The Tulip has another curiosity we have noticed. The elliptical table top creates an interesting visual phenomena. If you look at it on the side, the oval shape "narrows" the table down making it visually very light. Subsequently, the 137 cm wide table looks smaller than it really is. However, when you move and look at the table directly from the narrow end of the ellipse, you can see how wide it actually is and how much space there is between the opposite diners to lay dishes or any other necessities.
The overall condition of the table is good, but based on little (spoon?) marks here and there, the table has been hosting some younger generation diners also in the past. Pekka already has a plan to treat the table, but it is very likely that no matter how successful he will be now, the marks will miraculously return, sooner or later.
And what happened to our old dining table? Well, as some of you might remember the table top was actually a DIY, whereas the legs are genuine parts from a table called the Super Ellipse, manufactured by Fritz Hansen. The legs have now been disassembled and are for sale. So if you are interested in a set of genuine Super Ellipse legs, with or without a table top please let us know!
|Super Ellipse legs|
|Super Ellipse legs looking for a new home|