Noguchi Coffee Table ~ Freeform Table

After moving away from Modern Classics to Contemporary design pieces in several of my past posts, I am returning with the Modern Classic articles, starting with Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair designed for Fritz Hansen. The Noguchi Coffee Table is the piece to restart the topic on Modern Classics.

My Ideal Colour for the Noguchi Coffee Table. Matches my Colour Scheme Perfectly.

Isamu Noguchi is was a prominent Japanese American Artist and Landscape Architect. He was well-known for his many sculptures and public works in the U.S. Today however, we probably know Isamu Noguchi best for his works with Herman Miller. Iconic pieces such as the Noguchi Coffee Table and Dining Tables designed in 1948 that are seen in lots of places, helped by the fact that it being popularly replicated and became much more accessible compared to the authentic pieces produced by Herman Miller and Vitra.

Herman Miller – The Original Manufacturer’s Stamp of Authenticity.

Vitra’s Version has a Different Proof of Authenticity.

The design story behind this Modern Classic Coffee Table is interesting. Herman Miller’s website details the story via Noguchi’s autobiography. “I went to Hawaii in 1939 to do an advertisement (with Georgia O’Keefe). As a result of this, I had met (T.H.) Robsjohn-Gibbings, the furniture designer, who had asked me to do a coffee table for him. I designed a small model in plastic and heard no further before I went west.” By “went west” Noguchi meant his internment, as a Japanese-American, in an Arizona concentration camp during World War II. During his time there, Noguchi said he was surprised to see a variation of the small model table he had done for Robsjohn-Gibbings published as an advertisement for the English designer. “When, on my return, I remonstrated, he said anybody could make a three-legged table,” said Noguchi. “In revenge, I made my own variant of my own table.” The “variant” that Noguchi designed was used to illustrate an article, written by Herman Miller designer George Nelson, called “How to Make a Table.” The table in the illustration became his famous “coffee table.” Wow, a design masterpiece born out of “revenge”: scary, yet beautiful. 🙂

A Classic piece looking Comfortable with other Classics.

Underneath the complex looks, the Noguchi Coffee Table actually consists of very simple constructions. Two identical pieces of curved wood form the base with a glass top sitting on top of it. The beauty about this simple construction is its organic form which is non-geometrical. The freeform glass table top allows viewing pleasure of the beautifully crafted wooden bases.

Looks good with Contemporary Setups.

Goes well with Minimalism too.

Despite looking fragile because of the glass top, the table is quite sturdy in practice. This could be due to the low center of gravity and the wide support base, providing a smaller amount of leverage should you lean on the edge of the glass table. I love the Noguchi Coffee Table for its sculptural looks (not the dining table though, which looks far too complex with its numerous wire base which goes against my Minimalist Theme). I feel that the understated look of the Noguchi Coffee Table suits Minimalist Homes better. It would be perfect for my future home had it not have a glass table top. Looking forward to having kids in the future, any glass tables would spell disaster for me. It had been my first choice coffee table in the beginning of the conceptualization of my home interior design. I then switched to Eames’ Plywood Coffee Table due to the above consideration and then to Maxalto’s Xilos Low Table. I have not decided yet and will make the decision in due course.

How it will look in my Living Room if I am to choose it. The same Colour Scheme.

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