Eero Saarinen Gallery Opening Friday 10/5 at Los Angeles A+D


There’s something about a fall opening. The weather is cooler (well, let’s pretend it is), the evenings are longer, and the museums are eager to share new stories with us. One opening we’ve been waiting to see here in Los Angeles is at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum > Los Angeles (A+D Museum).

Last year, the A+D Museum welcomed the fall with Eames Words, a celebration of the spoken and written words of fellow Charles and Ray Eames, as part of the collaborative initiative Pacific Standard Time. This year, in anticipation of next year’s architecture edition of Pacific Standard Time, the museum looks back on the life of their fellow Cranbook Academy of Art classmate and later collaborator, Eero Saarinen (not to be confused with his father, Eliel). You know Saarinen’s work. Do the words “Tulip Chair” ring a bell? Womb Chair? St. Louis Gateway Arch? Dulles International Airport?

Dulles International Airport. Credit: Photo: Design Research & Balthazar Korab

Like many architects today, Saarinen wore many hats. The traveling exhibition, curated by Mina Marefat, is unique in telling a lesser-known chapter of the architect’s life during World War II, when he served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor to the CIA. 51 years after Saarinen’s death at, coincidentally, age 51, this exhibition offers a closer look at the Finnish architect and industrial designer’s short but prolific and incredibly influential career. Saarinen once said, “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.” You will see at the A+D Museum that he followed his own advice. His work influenced design at all scales, from modern furniture to California’s Case Study houses to the way in which museums and airports were designed worldwide.

The Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Credit: Mina Marefat, Saarinen photo, Yale University Archives

Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation opens at the A+D Museum this Friday and will be on view through January 3, 2013.

The opening reception takes place Friday, October 5th from 6 – 9pm (opening reception admission $20 General, $10 Students, A+D Members Free). A+D Museum is located at 6032 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

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