Reproduction of the iconic Saarinen Tulip Table: What to look at? Lessons 101.
Over the last years, the market has been flooded with reproductions of this iconic table, with sometimes a huge difference in prices. Reproductions may look the same from far away but the differences are clear as soon as you look at details. Consequently, it can be challenging for our clients to differentiate all the different versions and their respective quality. We are going to explain what to look at when you want to buy a Tulip Table. This is true for a Tulip side table, a Tulip coffee table or a Tulip dining table.
Two parts differentiate these reproductions: the top and the base.
Most of the stores will tell you (or sometimes they even do not know) that their table is completed with a top made from genuine Carrara marble, sourced from the stone quarries in the Carrara province of Tuscany.
However, most of the time, this is wrong as a lot of reproductions use some white marble from China (less expensive), which can still be of good quality. But it is not as smooth and "exclusive" as the Carrara marble, which is considered the best in the world for its natural look and durability.
You will probably find two versions for the base: the aluminium and the fiberglass.
The best reproductions on the market cast a one piece mold aluminium base. Cast aluminium is both stronger and lighter than a low cost fiberglass base offered by most knock offs.
For the best reproductions, the base undergoes a 5-step powder coating process for a smooth glossy finish that is resistant to chipping. With cheap reproductions, bases are made of fiberglass, have poor quality paint finishes that lead to easy chipping and have too much flex. This type of base will create a table that wobble just from touching the edge.
As you can see, you have to look at details when it comes to buying a Saarinen Style Tulip Table. Prices differ because of the materials used to make this beautiful table. As Charles Eames said, “the details are not the details. They make the design.“