Starting with a competition to design the Smithsonian Gallery of Art that Eero Saarinen won at age 29, this exhibition at Los Angeles’ A+D Architecture and Design Museum reviews the famous architect’s short but memorable career. Although the museum never got built, most of his other work was completed and can still turn heads today—such as the St. Louis Gateway Arch. He also designed Dulles International Airport—the nation’s first jet airport—as well as the TWA Terminal at JFK, the Miller House in Columbus, Ind., and he also was involved in the Case Study houses.
Product design also played a large role in Saarinen’s career. The tulip and womb chairs remain icons of mid-century modernism and inspired decades of knock-offs. The show at A+D also includes artifacts from Saarinen’s work for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII. He volunteered for the agency (which eventually became the CIA) as a technology and product designer and eventually became head of the presentation and exhibits department.
Eero Saarinen: A Reputation for Innovation opens Oct. 5 and continues through Jan. 3.