4.06.2017

CRANBROOK'S SAARINEN HOUSE: A TOTAL WORK OF ART


"Saarinen Home: Living and Working with Cranbrook's First Family of Design" exhibition opens on April 30, 2017, offering public tours and four Finnish Fridays

Bloomfield Hills, MI - The Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is pleased to announce the launch of reinvigorated and expanded tours of Cranbrook's landmark Saarinen House.



Curated by Center Collections Fellow Kevin Adkisson, this three-month installation expands on the life and work of the remarkable Saarinen family, presenting drawings, letters, and family photographs from the Cranbrook Archives and bringing out treasures designed for use in their home, at Cranbrook, and for projects around the country.


Designed in the late 1920s and located at the heart of Cranbrook Academy of Art, Saarinen House served as the home and studio of the Finnish-American designers Eliel Saarinen (Cranbrook's first resident architect and the Academy's first president and head of the Architecture Department) and Loja Saarinen (the Academy's first head of the Weaving Department) from 1930 through 1950.

Saarinen House has been open for tours since 1994 following a careful restoration overseen by Gregory Wittkopp, now director of the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research.


While continuing to interpret the house as a total work of art, new stories, sounds, and objects will enrich the space and add insight into how the family lived, entertained, and worked in their home.

Visitors will see silver, glass, and ceramics selected or designed by the Saarinens for Cranbrook sparkling on the dining room table, study Loja's intricate weaving on test pieces she made on her hand loom, take a close look at eclectic titles of the hand-bound volumes in the family library, and even inspect the steamer trunks they used to travel back and forth between Europe and the United States.


The Saarinen House Studio--where Loja worked on designs for her rugs and monumental tapestries, and Eliel practiced architecture and discussed projects with his two partners, son Eero Saarinen and son-in-law J. Robert F. Swanson--will be transformed into a showcase of work produced by the entire family from their arrival at Cranbrook in 1925 to Eliel's death in 1950.



Sketches, plans, and presentation drawings of their furniture and buildings, as well as period books, articles, and catalogues by or about the family, will be arranged on drafting tables in the Studio for guests to explore. Weavings by Studio Loja Saarinen, ceramics and illustrations by daughter-in-law Lily Swann Saarinen, dresses and tableware by daughter Pipsan Saarinen Swanson, and furniture by Eliel, Eero, and J. Robert F. will also be on display.


The exhibition will open to the public with a free Open House on Sunday, April 30, from 1pm through 4pm, during the Cranbrook Academy of Art OPEN(STUDIOS) event. During the remainder of the exhibition, visitors experience this special installation on regularly scheduled public tours May 5 through July 30, Fridays and Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 1pm and 3pm.

All tours start at Cranbrook Art Museum, where tickets may be purchased on the day of the tours. Saarinen Home tours cost $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (65 and older), and $11 for students with ID.


Tour price includes admission to the Art Museum. Private tours may be scheduled by calling the Center for Collections and Research at 248.645.3307. Private tours are $20 a person, with a $100 minimum to make a reservation.

Complementing the regularly scheduled tours will be four Finnish Fridays (May 5, May 19, June 9, and June 23, from 6 to 8:30pm), held in conjunction with the Cranbrook Art Museum's exhibition, Finland 100: The Cranbrook Connection. These evenings will include live music in the studio on the Swanson-designed piano, treats served in the house's courtyard (Loja's pineapple upside down cake), as well as Saarinen home movies screened in the living room.


Enjoy a cash bar on the Art Museum's Peristyle, with period games and Finnish-inspired art-making activities for your enjoyment. Center and Art Museum curators, archivists, and program presenters will be on hand with behind-the-scenes-stories to complete these remarkable evenings. Advance tickets for the Finnish Fridays are $12 per person; admission at the door is $15 each. Admission may be purchased by calling the Cranbrook Art Museum at 248.645.3320 or visiting their website: http://www.cranbrookartmuseum.org.

The "Saarinen Home" exhibition and interpretive project was organized by the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research and curated by Kevin Adkisson, the Center's 2016 - 2018 Collections Fellow. Foundation support for the Center's 2016 - 2018 Program Year is provided by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Towbes Foundation, and the Clannad Foundation. Addition support for the "Saarinen Home" project is provided by Knoll, Inc.


For more information on the "Saarinen Home: Living and Working with Cranbrook's First Family Design" exhibition or the Finnish Friday events, please call the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research at 248.645.3307, email center@cranbrook.edu, or visit www.cranbrook.edu/center.

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