The chair of nations
The UNESCO Headquarters in Paris is an icon of architecture, and was developed in 1958 as a joint project: Marcel Breuer, Pier Luigi Nervi, Antonio Nervi and Bernard Zehrfuss were all involved, consulting in the process with an architecture committee chaired by Walter Gropius.
The choice for the seating for the huge auditorium fell back then on the “Conference Chair”, the brainchild of industrial designer and architect Eero Saarinen, who created the chair for Knoll International. The soft shape of the upholstered chair is no coincidence, since the design is ultimately based on the “Organic Chair” that Eero Saarinen had designed previously in cooperation with Ray Eames for the 1941 competition “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The decision once again to incorporate the timeless classic into the auditorium of the UNESCO Headquarters after the historic building’s modernization was not a difficult one: 800 individual chairs were produced with a base frame developed specially for the project and the material and colors adapted to the impressive auditorium.