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Revisiting Eero Saarinen

fall13_saarinenI have been revisiting an old acquaintance from childhood. His name is Eero Saarinen. He designed both simple chairs and soaring architecture and I was an early fan of both.

In the 1940s, working with his pal Charles Eames and furniture company founders Hans and Florence Knoll, Saarinen created and popularized mid-century classics like the Tulip Chair and other distinctive side and arm chairs that characterized mid-century modernism.

fall13_chairWhen I was a teenager my mother’s friend had a tulip dining room set at which I would sit and swivel my time away. My mother’s friend would say “Take a seat,” and then quickly retract that offer and say “Have a seat.” She knew I loved those chairs so much I might have taken her up on her offer.

fall13_eero-saarinenI also loved Saarinen’s large-scale architecture. He designed the Trans World Airlines Terminal at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport in New York. As a child we would travel to JFK to pick up family members and I would always admire the big soaring bird that was the TWA terminal. Jet travel was still new and exciting and glamorous, and his space-age design perfectly portrayed the spirit of the times.

fall13_arch2Saarinen also created Dulles Airport outside Washington, which he considered his greatest single accomplishment. And he designed the tallest man-made monument in the U.S., the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, though he didn’t live to see it completed. Saarinen died too soon, in 1961, at the age of 51.

fall13_chair2Saarinen’s work is today attracting renewed interest, but I have always found his work exhilarating.

Recommended Reading

New Paris Style, Danielle Miller, 2012

French Accents: At Home with Parisian Objects and Details, Erin Swift, 2013

Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion
, Bernhard Roetzel, 2012

Miro, Janis Mink, 2013


The Eurostar Does Not Wait

fall13_kingsI misread the ticket. I thought the train left London from Kings Cross Station at 2:38, after lunch. Something told me to check it again and I did, and I realized then that 2:38 was the arrival time at Gare du Nord, not the departure time from London. The actual departure time was 40 minutes away, at 11:55. I had to move fast.

Fortunately my room was a 5-minute walk from the station and I made it with about a minute to spare. The Eurostar leaves on time and I was grateful to whatever told me to look again at my itinerary.

fall13_eurostarLondon rolled by in Seattle-like fog, chilly and dark, out of the city, into the 20-minute tunnel, emerging in France and into the sunshine. I arrived at Gare du Nord and crossed the street to my hotel. The afternoon sun was warm, the cafes were filling, and I was in Paris again.

London and Paris, separated by the English Channel and by centuries of war, now three hours apart, center city to center city, pub to bistro. We are lucky to live in such times.

Twelve Things I Can't Live Without (right now)

  1. Sterling Silver Revere Bowls. I use them for jelly beans and for fresh cut roses. (www.tiffany.com)
  2. Glassy Baby candle holders, drinking glasses and art objects in many fun colors. The company donates a portion of each sale to charities helping cancer patients cover chemotherapy costs. (www.glassybaby.com)
  3. Italian Black Truffle olive oil. Great on most vegetables.
  4. Bretagne Grey Sea Salt from France. Just a little on your favorite foods brings out the flavors. (Available at many gourmet food stores)
  5. Aquiesse candles. They come in an attractive tin with a very clever top that holds a book of matches. (www.aquiesse.com)
  6. My Movado watch. One of the best presents ever from my brother Stevie. (www.movado.com)
  7. Oscar de la Renta cardigan sweaters. They are very cozy on those cool autumn days. (www.oscardelarenta.com)
  8. My cool new colorful whisk from Target. Making eggs in the morning has never been so much fun. (www.target.com)
  9. TanakaSan American Asian restaurant at Via 6 Apartments in Seattle. Another fabulous Chef Tom Douglas creation. (www.tanakasanseattle.com)
  10. Paris Eastside, Seattle cooking school and French lifestyle store. Thank you Muriel-Marguerite for guiding me to cook simple fresh French cuisine. (www.pariseastside.com)
  11. Tom Ford’s Noir cologne. Simply devine. (www.tomford.com)
  12. Macrina Bakery Seattle. I love going there to get my morning coffee. (www.macrinabakery.com)