For the Love of Good Design

The Noguchi Table: The Most Versatile Table Ever Made

The Noguchi Table: The Most Versatile Table Ever Made

You know you’ve always wanted one. You’ve seen it on those great TV shows set in the high-stakes world of 1950s advertising, or maybe just in your neighbor’s living room. They even make child-proof rims today so you can keep it once you have little ones running around! Yes, it’s the classic Noguchi Table, the iconic design imagined by Isamu Noguchi, translated by George Nelson, and finally produced by Herman Miller in 1948. It is a design that has never gone out of style, and maybe it never will.

Noguchi contemporary living, image courtesy of Architonic

Image courtesy of Architonic

Poetic Forms

Isamu Noguchi’s father was a poet. The same may easily be said of Noguchi, himself. The son, however, was a poet of form and function, of organic lines and modernist ideals. He married the peace of Japanese Zen gardens with the industrialization of post-war America. Late in his career, he focused on integrating paper lanterns into domestic spaces with his seductive lamps and light sculptures.

Image courtesy of The Noguchi Museum

Throughout his life, Noguchi called several continents and countries home, from Los Angeles to Japan, from New York to Paris, and even spending some time during World War II at an internment camp in Arizona. His career highlights include set designs for Martha Graham; lamps and radios; tables and chairs; fountains and playgrounds. There was no space in life into which he could not add his poetic vision.

UNESCO gardens, Paris, 1957.

The Perfect Sculpture for Your Home

Noguchi’s famous table evokes descriptions like “ethereal,” “incredible,” and “legend.” He had studied in Paris with famed sculptor Constantin Brâncusi and came to believe that “everything is sculpture.” For a simple piece of furniture, like a table, he was inspired by the organic lines of his sculptural materials. A true modernist, he found harmony in the sleek, clear planes of the glass top and the warm curves of perfectly balanced wood. He played with dark and light.

Image courtesy of Herman Miller

The Noguchi Table is gravity-defying in its balance of glass and solid form. Two legs become three when pinned together at the center of a dramatic, triangular piece of solid glass. It is inherently sculptural. You can almost see the hands of Noguchi softening and lengthening the mold, drawing a poetic, smooth form from the purity of the natural wood. The glass top is large enough to be functional, thin enough to be graceful, but sturdy enough to handle everyday life. Its manufactured form and beveled edge compliment, rather than detract, from the sculptural base. The entire piece is like a Mid-Century Modern dream of a tree.

It Goes with Everything

One of the things we like to say about our jewelry at Graymoor Lane is that it goes with everything. Our Solstice pendant brings simple style to your jeans at the weekend soccer game, and then it stuns as the perfect, graceful accent to your little black dress later that night. Our Light collection taps into the undulating ease of George Nelson’s vision, the same George Nelson who saw something marvelous in Noguchi’s sculptural forms for Herman Miller.

Light Collection

So, too, does the Noguchi Table go with everything. It pairs with new, contemporary furniture as well as with other iconic pieces from the Mid-Century. It is not uncommon to find designers pairing it with Barcelona couches or Tulip chairs. And it works with bold colors, sharps contrasts, and even pastels. There is room for it in our house, for sure!

Image courtesy of Manhattan Home Design

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