100 studies

Smithsonian Gallery of Art competition sketch

I remember Eero [Saarinen] thought out the whole thing carefully, and then told us that the first thing to do would be to make 100 studies of each element that went into the building. We would then pick the best, and never let our standards fall below that. Then we would make 100 studies of the combinations of each element—the placing of the sinks in the ladies’ rooms, for instance. Then 100 studies of the combinations of the combinations. When the whole thing was finished, Eero was almost in tears, because it was so simple. And then, of course, he won the competition.

Charles Eames on Eero Saarinen’s approach to designing the entry for the Smithsonian Gallery of Art competition.

That’s an impressive amount of sketching. I’ve only been able to find an image of one sketch, which was included in the catalog for the exhibition Eero Saarinen: shaping the future. Sadly, the exhibition never came through London. I’d love to see more.