Saarinen House - A Total Work of Art

Finland 100 Saarinen House Reinterpretation
Saarinen Home: Living and Working with the First Family of Design

Exhibition Opening on Sunday, April 30, 1 - 4pm
During the Cranbrook Academy of Art OPEN(STUDIOS) Event
Free Admission during the Opening

Public Tours May 5 through July 30
Friday and Saturday: 2pm
Sunday: 1pm and 3pm

In celebration of the centennial of Finnish independence, the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research is pleased to announce the launch of reinvigorated and expanded tours of the landmark Saarinen House. The 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 treasures designed for use in their home, at Cranbrook, and for projects around the country.

While continuing to present the house as a total work of art, new stories, sounds, and objects will enrich the space and add insight as to 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 in the library, sit in a reproduction womb chair—even inspect the steamer trunks they used to travel back and forth to Europe.

Saarinen House’s studio, where the family worked and discussed projects, will be transformed into a showcase of work produced by the entire family between their arrival 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 Lilly Swann Saarinen, dresses and tableware by Pipsan Saarinen Swanson, and furniture by Eliel, Eero, and J. Robert F. Swanson will also be on display.

Visitors will be able to 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 the Cranbrook Art Museum, where tickets may be purchased on the day of the tours.

Public Tour Fees:
ArtMembers   Free
Adult    $15
Seniors (65 and older)  $13
Students with ID  $11

Saarinen House Tours include admission to Cranbrook Art Museum. Call 248.645.3320, or email to make a reservation.

Private Tours
A limited number of private tours are available, with at least two weeks advance notice. Please call the Center at 248.645.3307 to inquiry about a private tour.

Private Tour Fees (includes admission to Cranbrook Art Museum)
ArtMembers   $15
Adults and Seniors  $20
Students with ID  $15

Please note there is a Minimum Private Tour Group Fee of $100

Special Evening Programming: Finnish Fridays
In celebration of Finland’s centennial of independence, Cranbrook Art Museum, the Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research, and Saarinen House have teamed up to offer “Finnish Fridays” – four nights of special evening programming held on May 5, May 19, June 9 and June 23. Click here to learn more.

Saarinen House will be closed during the month of August for restoration. Regular Saarinen House: A Total Work of Art public tours will resume on Friday, September 1, and close for the season on Sunday, November 26.

Saarinen House is Eliel Saarinen’s Art Deco masterwork and the jewel of Cranbrook’s architectural treasures. 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 designer 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. The extraordinary interior, now impeccably restored, features the Saarinen’s original furnishings, including Eliel’s delicately-veneered furniture and Loja’s sumptuous textiles, as well as early furniture designs by their son Eero Saarinen.

In 2014, Antiques Roadshow visited Saarinen House during their stop in Detroit. In this segment, Mark Wahlberg and Eric Silver discuss two objects in the home as well as the home itself.

View the Saarinen House and Garden Visitor’s Guide.