The Noguchi Rudder Table Returns to the Herman Miller Collection
June 10, 2013
“Everything is sculpture. Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.” Isamu Noguchi
The Herman Miller Collection has proudly reintroduced Isamu Noguchi’s 1949 Rudder Table, an outstanding example of the noted artist-designer’s skillful use of deceptively simple organic forms to create highly functional and beautiful furniture. The table’s name stems from the character of its single wood leg support, which is reminiscent of a ship’s rudder. Paired with two metal hairpin legs, the table seems to visually rest on the rudder leg, lending a visual lightness and grace to the whole.
The Noguchi Rudder Table shares a near-identically shaped and sized top as the glass Noguchi Coffee Table from 1947, which quickly became one of the most iconic Herman Miller pieces following its own reintroduction in 1984.
Noguchi believed the sculptor's task was to shape space, to give it order and meaning, and that art should "disappear," or be as one with its surroundings. Perhaps it was his dual heritage—his father was a Japanese poet, his mother a Scottish-American writer—that resulted in his way of looking at the world with an eye for "oneness." His extraordinary range of projects included playgrounds and plazas, furniture and gardens, the stone-carved busts, and Akari paper lights. He also designed numerous stage sets for dancer-choreographer Martha Graham, who was as much an influence on him as was his mentor, Constantin Brancusi.
Noguchi’s relationship with Herman Miller came about when a design of his was used to illustrate an article written by George Nelson called "How to Make a Table." This resulted in the production of the original Noguchi Coffee table.
The Rudder Table, made of walnut, ebony or white ash, with chrome hairpin legs, joins many other recently re-issued or updated classic designs from the Herman Miller archive. These icons help form the core of the Herman Miller Collection, a carefully curated group of furnishings designed to meet the needs of today’s modern lifestyle, whether in the workplace, hospitality settings, healthcare or higher education environments, and in the home.
About The Herman Miller Collection
In 1948, George Nelson created the first Herman Miller Collection, with the goal of "a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.” He understood that the Collection would evolve as human behavior changed and new materials and manufacturing technologies emerged. Today’s modern living embraces the blending of life and work, with greater appreciation for contemporary design and mobile and ubiquitous technologies offering new freedom of choice in where and how people express their lifestyles and pursue their professions. The Herman Miller Collection welcomes and enriches this new era, as we endeavor to realize Nelson’s vision for the modern home, office, and public spaces.
About Herman Miller
Herman Miller’s inspiring designs, inventive technologies and strategic services help people do great things and organizations to perform at their best. Its award-winning products generated more than $1.7 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012. A past recipient of the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have helped establish Herman Miller as a recognized global company. In 2012, Herman Miller again received the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s top rating in its annual Corporate Equality Index and was named among the 50 Best U.S. Manufacturers by Industry Week. Herman Miller is included in the Dow Jones.