Designed by the highly influential architect Eliel Saarinen in the 1920s, this Art Deco masterpiece sits on the campus of the Cranbrook Art Museum. From 1930 through 1950, the structure served as the home and studio of Saarinen, Cranbrook’s first resident architect and the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s inaugural president and head of the Architecture Department, and his wife Loja, the first head of the Academy’s Weaving Department. Today, museum visitors can take staff-guided tours (offered May through October) of the residence, which features impeccably restored interiors outfitted with the Saarinens’ original furnishings, including Eliel’s delicately-veneered furniture and Loja’s magnificent textiles as well as early furniture designs by their son Eero Saarinen.Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING: SAARINEN HOUSE, CRANBROOK ACADEMY OF ART CAMPUS Dining Room, completed circa 1930; restored 1992 - 1994 Interior and furniture design by Eliel Saarinen Placemat designs by Eero Saarinen Textile designs by Loja Saarinen and Greta SkogsterEliel and Eero Saarinen, 1941. Photo by Betty Truxell, courtesy of Cranbrook ArchivesAugust 20th is a big occasion here at Cranbrook--the day both our campus architect Eliel Saarinen (Finnish, 1873 - 1950) and his architect son Eero (Finnish-American, 1910 - 1961) entered this world! In honor of two great men from one of the design community's most accomplished families (read blog posts about matriarch Loja Saarinen here and Eero's big sister Pipsan here), today on the blog we'll visit the Saarinen House dining room, where father-and-son birthdays were most certainly celebrated on many an August 20th throughout the 1930s.Saarinen House Dining Room, designed 1928; restored 1994. Photo by Balthazar Korab, (c) Cranbrook Art Museum.Eliel Saarinen designed Saarinen ...Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING: INSIDE THE VAULT Sol-Air Canvas Chaise Lounge, c. 1950 Pipsan Saarinen Swanson and J. Robert F. Swanson for Swanson and Associates Iron, rope, and canvas 34 x 23 x 24 in. (86.4 x 58.4 x 61 cm) Transfered from the Cranbrook Academy of Art If it were up to me, every month would be Women's History Month, but alas for the foreseeable future it is *officially* delegated to March in the United States, and today is our last chance to celebrate! How auspicious that March 31 also happens to be the birthday of Pipsan (born Eva Lisa) Saarinen Swanson, designer of furniture, interiors, fashion, and textiles, and younger sister of one of the most recognizable names in modern architecture, Eero Saarinen. Pipsan's father Eliel was of course the architect of the Cranbrook Campus and President of the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1932-1946, but before being lured to Bloomfield Hills by Cranbrook founder George ...Read More
Cranbrook Sighting # 10 Sighter: Shoshana Resnikoff Sighted: Cranbrook Art Museum and Library Location: the Internet Date: January 16, 2014There are few things that history buffs love more than archives, and there is almost no archive that can rival—digitally at least—the Internet Archive for sheer volume and accessibility. Looking for a late 19th-century trade catalogue for a New York lantern company? They probably have that. Interested in Princeton University’s 1886 Scientific Expedition? Well, read all about it. What about former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit to Morocco in 1957? Enjoy! Every once in a while, though, a researcher comes upon a treasure that feels strangely personal. That is exactly what happened when I was bumming around on the Internet Archive and stumbled upon this compilation of 1948 Oldsmobile “Minute Movies.” This blog is all about Cranbrook sightings off-campus; places where Cranbrook-related artists and makers have put their mark on the world. This sighting, though, is ...Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING #9 Sighter: Shelley Selim Sighted: Eliel Saarinen, Helsinki Central Railway Station Location: Helsinki, Finland Date: July 4, 2012 There was a two week block of last summer when at any given moment I could be found clapping, beaming, and prancing with merriment; arms open to our joyous earth’s embrace. No, I hadn’t finally completed my master’s degree (that would come later—with commensurate celebrating in its own right), but rather had landed on Nordic soil, where I completed the remainder of my graduate coursework studying Scandinavian design amidst the incredible apples and countrysides of Sweden and Finland. How befitting that on our American day of independence, I disembarked in Finland, a country that was also shaped by the struggle for its own autonomy (a struggle which persisted for centuries longer than that of the Tories and the Patriots, I might add). That morning I launched my tour-laden itinerary with a walk to the hub of ...Read More
CRANBROOK SIGHTING #6 Sighter: Chad Alligood Sighted: Eliel Saarinen’s First Christian Church, 1940-42; Eero Saarinen’s North Christian Church, 1964; Harry Weese’s Cummins Engine Company Tech Center, 1968 Location: Columbus, IN Date: February 22, 2013 Part one of my road trip from Michigan to Kentucky brought me to the doorstep of Eero Saarinen’s Miller House in Columbus, IN. Here, then, I submit for your consideration part two: the rapid-fire highlights of my whirlwind, self-cobbled tour of Cranbrook in Columbus.3:02 PM, Friday afternoon: I need to be in Louisville, KY—about 75 miles away—by 5 PM. Short on time but long on curiosity, I decide to hit as many of the Cranbrook-related local gems of modern architecture as possible before I hit I-65 South. 3:04 PM: I wander out of the Columbus Area Visitor’s Center, map in hand, attempting to plot an architecturally significant route while walking. As I ponder which cool building is closest, I look up from ...Read More
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