What is the Saarinen Tulip Table Made Of?

The Saarinen Tulip Table, an iconic piece of mid-century modern furniture, has become a symbol of timeless design and sophistication. Created by Finnish-American architect and designer Eero Saarinen in the 1950s, this table is renowned for its sleek, minimalist appearance and innovative pedestal base. One question that often piques the curiosity of admirers is, “What is the Saarinen Tulip Table made of?” In this exploration, we delve into the materials that contribute to the allure and durability of this classic piece.

The Base:

At the heart of the Saarinen Tulip Table’s design is its specific pedestal base. Contrary to conventional tables with four legs, Saarinen’s vision was to eliminate the clutter and visual confusion caused by multiple supports. The base is crafted from molded, cast aluminum, which provides both strength and a seamless aesthetic. The choice of aluminum not only contributes to the table’s durability but also allows for intricate detailing, creating the illusion of a single, fluid form.

The Tabletop:

The tabletop of the Saarinen Tulip Table comes in various materials to cater to different preferences and needs. One of the most common choices is Carrara marble, prized for its timeless elegance and natural veining. Alternatively, the table is also available in Arabescato marble or a laminate finish, providing a more budget-friendly option without compromising on style.

Carrara marble, sourced from quarries in Italy, is celebrated for its high quality and distinctive grayish-white appearance. The marble is carefully cut and honed to create a smooth, pristine surface that complements the table’s overall aesthetic. While marble exudes luxury, it’s worth noting that it requires proper care to prevent staining and maintain its beauty over time.


Q. What inspired Eero Saarinen to design the Tulip Table?

A. Eero Saarinen aimed to address the visual clutter created by traditional four-legged tables. His innovative design for the Tulip Table sought to eliminate these distractions, offering a sleek and minimalistic alternative with a single pedestal base.

Q. What materials are used in the construction of the Tulip Table’s base?

A. The base of the Saarinen Tulip Table is crafted from molded, cast aluminum. This material provides both strength and allows for the creation of the distinctive, fluid pedestal design that defines the table.

Q. Can I choose a different material for the tabletop besides marble?

A. Yes, the Saarinen Tulip Table offers versatility in tabletop materials. While Carrara marble is a popular choice, you can also opt for Arabescato marble for a unique veining pattern. Additionally, there’s the option of a laminate finish for a more budget-friendly alternative.

Q. How do I care for the Carrara marble tabletop?

A. Carrara marble, though elegant, requires special care. Avoid placing hot items directly on the surface and clean spills promptly to prevent staining. Regularly sealing the marble can help protect it from wear and tear.

Q. Is the Saarinen Tulip Table suitable for outdoor use?

A. The Saarinen Tulip Table is primarily designed for indoor use. The materials used, especially the cast aluminum base, may not withstand prolonged exposure to the elements.


The Saarinen Tulip Table stands as a testament to Eero Saarinen’s design philosophy – a balanced blend of form and function. The choice of materials, particularly cast aluminum for the base and various tabletop options, adds to the table’s appeal by combining durability with aesthetic complexity. Whether gracing a dining room, conference space, or a chic office, the Saarinen Tulip Table remains a symbol of mid-century modern design, showcasing the enduring beauty of carefully selected materials and detailed craftsmanship.

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