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Eero Saarinen Armless "Tulip" Chairs from MV SERENADE

Classic Original Knoll Chairs
31 Inches Tall by 19 Inches Wide
18 Inch Seat Height
Cast Aluminum Base, Molded Fiberglass Framework
Price: $350.00 plus shipping -- 12 Available   SOLD

When SERENA was at Alang in 2008, I tried to purchase some of these but was outbid by a French buyer who apparently got all of them. The price was quite high but I read recently that the chairs were auctioned off in Paris and obtained stellar prices.



The ship's dining room was a real stunner after its conversion from traditional JEAN MERMOZ to modern MERMOZ in 1970. In its Marc Held-designed MERMOZ heyday, the room sported cloud-like ceiling fixtures, gorgeous acrylic and chrome table lamps that descended from the ceiling and these uber-stylish Knoll chairs designed by the iconic Eero Saarinen in 1955.



The chairs are constructed of aluminum and fiberglass and sport maroon cushions. They were made especially famous for being the chairs of choice on board the USS ENTERPRISE in the original Star Trek TV series.

But wait a minute, if all of these were bought by the French bidder in 2008, then how did MidShipCentury get this allotment? Ah, good question! Well, while I was on board the former AUSONIA at Alang in 2010, I found about 40 in the crew's mess. When Louis sold SERENADE (ex MERMOZ) for scrap, they moved these over to the IVORY (ex AUSONIA). I got especially lucky since Louis picked out the best ones to keep on IVORY and then I got to pick the 20 best of those. Considering that they are 40 years old, they are in remarkable condition with mostly unchipped edges (that is the first part of these chairs to go). Some may need some repainting if a perfect base is wanted and there are tiny scratches on a few but overall, these are amazing survivors from a stylish and beloved ship.

These chairs are now being knocked off by other manufacturers but these are the "real" thing and have a special provenance. This will be the only batch I have to offer.  I made my final visit to the ship at low tide during the 2008 August monsoon. It was quite sad to see this once proud and pristine ship in such a sorry state but she did have a very long and successful career. A few years prior, I had sailed from Limassol to Port Said on an all-too-short two night voyage in her most luxurious suite. She was spotless and beautifully run at the time. At least I was able to rescue the chairs and lights (now sold) in her dining room, various panels from her bridge and stairtowers and her wonderful brass engine panels.

SERENA at Alang during a monsoon, awaiting demolition.