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Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen (1873 - 1950) was born in Rantasalmi, Finland in 1873 and died in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA in 1950. From 1896 to 1905 he worked at the architect firm Gesellus, Lindgren and Saarinen. His first major work was the Finnish pavilion at the Word Fair in Paris 1900. The Hvitträsk manor house was built between 1901 – 1903 as the home and studio for architects Gesellius, Lindgren and Saarinen. It can be regarded as a total work of art. Most of its furniture and decorations were designed by Eliel Saarinen.
Eliel Saarinen was internationally famous already at the turn of the century. Saarinen and his young colleagues were especially famous for their buildings strongly influenced by art nouveau. Eliel Saarinen moved to the United States in 1923. There he designed several houses and the campus of Cranbrook. He also became the professor of the University of Michigan Architecture Department.