It's not everyday one comes across an Eero Saarinen design that's so utterly jilted. The works of Saarinen, a Finnish-American modernist whose designs have ranged from airport terminals to Mad Men props, illustrate and epitomize a design era and, thus, are hotly coveted by midcentury buffs and office designers alike. His Tulip and Womb chairs are frequently copied, and his pedestal collection, per Knoll's website, "helped establish the reputation and identity of Knoll during its formative years." This is why seeing such an iconic work of his in disrepair is so hair-raising. His Bell Labs Holmdel Complex in Holmdel, N.J., an iconic-looking structure whose 1.9M square feet were once flooded with light and some 6,000 engineers and researchers? It's only been perfunctorily touched since 2007. Photos spotted recently on Arch Daily show that, while the floors are still swept clean, the glossy plastic plants and men buzzing around in starched shirts have disappeared. But maybe not forever.
The building now is under new ownership, and the developer has recruited New York architect (and minimalist manse mason) Alexander Gorlin to "explore strategies that will bring life back to the historic complex, while still preserving Saarinen's graceful design." For those keeping score, that's two iconic Saarinen designs about to be rehabbed; it'll be interesting to see how this project will compare to hotelier André Balazs' plans for Saarinen's TWA Terminal in NYC. Stay tuned.
More abandoned photos, over at Arch Daily.