Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Eero Saarinen – Space Age Designer & Architect

Written by Christopher Alm • June 5th, 2007
Eero Saarinen – Space Age Designer & Architect

Eero Saarinen Grasshopper Chair for Knoll

Eero Saarinen, originally born in Finland in 1910. Relocated to the United States when his family emigrated there in 1923 where he began to study sculpture and furniture design. Saarinen however pursued his ambition to become an architect, his resume contains over 20 buildings.

He’s also the architect behind the two landmark buildings TWA Flight Center at JFK Kennedy Airport in New York and the Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. The Trans World Airlines terminal at JFK is out of this world. The building was built for TWA in 1962 and is totally ultra futuristic and cool.

It was the first airline terminal to have closed circuit television, a central p/a system, baggage carousels, an electronic schedule board…

The TWA Flight Center has been featured in many movies, like Catch Me if You Can and Death Wish. The interior looks ultra swank and futuristic, it is really the essence of what modern jet travel was about in the 1960s. Too bad that they do not build airports like this any longer.

When TWA was bought by American Airlines in 2001 the building fell into decline and was decommissioned. It has then been used as a exhibition center for various events until 2005 when JetBlue started constructing its new terminal next to it which will incorporate Saarinen’s ultra cool building as a front.

Above: “Pedestal” Armchair and Seat Cushion, designed in 1956

Above: Eero Saarinen wooden furniture

Above: TWA Terminal built in 1962

Above: TWA Terminal built in 1962

Above: Dulles Airport designed in 1958

Above: Dulles Airport designed in 1958

Christopher Alm

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher Alm

  • Lee

    Stunningly beautiful buildings the artistry of which is seldom seen today.

  • Julz Finley

    That building still looks like that. I’ve been in that airport several times and thought it was a good example of design in the United States (considering there is incredibly ugly architecture here!)

  • Chris

    You are so lucky Julie! Wish I could go and see it for real too before they totally remodel it. Maybe I can come with you on your next trip to New York? ;-)

  • I know I am very late to this, but the Ball Chair is Eero Aarnio’s design, isn’t it? In any case, I love Saarinen’s work.

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