Good replica of the Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair with some compromises
We have literally just bought this Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair replica today from Matt Blatt. But I basically completely taken it apart to rebuild it so I feel like I know this chair well and have some useful information to share. It was drastically discounted because it was floor stock, a display item or even furniture used by the staffs. What I describe here you will (hopefully) not encounter in a new copy but it may shed some light about wear and tear you could expect over time.
After a lot of cleaning, the chair has come up beautifully shin...y, spotless, glowing snowy white. The base unfortunately took quite a bit of bashing and has several spots where paint has chipped away requiring some touching up. Thank God I have plenty of white enamel paint. The chair is a swivel version but no longer return to 12 o'clock when swivelled to either side. There was some play in the axial with a little knocking noise. Having completely disassembled the chair - seat, axial and bearings - I noticed a few issues. I think the chair was assembled wrong or has been disassembled and put back together wrong. The metal plate that supposed to be on the seat has gone under the seat creating a significant gap between the seat and the base and also means the screws are barely catching the base they are screwed in to. How I know it is supposed to go on the top rather than the bottom? Because it didn't even fit at the bottom and assembly instructions of the same chair from other manufacturers clearly states it should be on the seat. However, in the process of fixing that, I noticed the screw holes in the chair didn't match up precisely with the base. Thank God there are six screws sharing the load, and given that stress is now on the plate instead of directly on the fibre glass seat, I hope the structure is still sound and reliable. Also, the screws are countersink screws but the plate has no provision for the countersink bit so they protrude on the plate. Good thing the cushion is firm and thick so you won't feel them and they are not sharp so shouldn't damage the cushion. There are two ball bearings in the base around the axial, I liberally re-greased and refitted them only to find the bottom (smaller) bearing doesn't fit into the indent I assume where it should sit. Anyway, I don't have the right tools to fix this and don't trust myself to understand the mechanism sufficiently to want to perform surgery on the chair. So, all I did was de-grease, re-grease the bearings and apply some thread lock to the nut and put everything back together. The seat now flies back perfectly. There is a much smaller gap between the seat and the base, no noise and no play. Happy days! I wish the floor protector on the bottom goes around completely rather than in sections. The cushion cleaned up so very well and it is so firm and full and I like the wool fabric cover. It is excellent. Why I gives it three stars out of five? Because of the issues with the screws in the seat. I hope you get a better copy where the screw holes line up perfectly between the plate, seat and the base and won't stick out. Just pull off the cushion that is velcro'ed on the seat and see for yourself. Keeping in mind that RRP for this item is $550, the implementation (based on my copy) should be better.
Purchased in March 2019 at Matt Blatt VIC, Blackburn.
Questions & Answers
Hi DavidN, We have bought 4 of these chairs. The two most used since we have had them, are very wobbly the other two will be soon as they are used more, what I would like to know is how you pulled them apart ours have complete cover at the bottom, so we can tighten them from there, does the chair come of the stand somehow. We have had these chairs less than six months.
Did you get them from Matt Blatt? If so, suggest going back and asking the assistants there in case there are different versions and yours are different from mine. My local Matt Blatt has a back warehouse and they often fix / assemble furnitures there so they may know the problem and fix.
As explained in my review, my cushion is secure on the to the seat with velcro. Removing the cushion reviews a large silver plate with six screws that holds it down like a lazy susan from memory. It impossible to miss this therefore I assume yours have a different design. I do expect it to experience more play over time and need tightening over time as stated in my review. All the best, hope you can get the problem sorted.
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