The perfect balance—literally—between art and furniture. Sculptor Isamu Noguchi created his distinctive table by joining a curved, wood base with a freeform glass top. The ethereal result does not diminish the practical design—a sturdy and durable table. This marriage of sculptural form and everyday function has made the Noguchi table an understated and beautiful element in homes and offices since its introduction in 1948.
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What's In It For You
The table is just three pieces. A 3/4-inch plate-glass top rests on two curved, solid wood legs that interlock to form a tripod for self-stabilizing support. This delicate balance is not surprising, given that from 1942 until his death in 1988, Noguchi designed all of choreographer Martha Graham's sets. Although it looks delicate, it is solid, perfectly balanced, durable. It's also a good size: 15-3/4 inches high, 50 inches wide, 36 inches deep.
Expanded Color Choices
The solid wood base of the table is available in Noguchi black, walnut, natural cherry, and white ash. The ash base is finished with a process that arrests the wood in its natural, "freshly cut" state. The resulting color is a creamy white that will not turn yellow or golden over time. The table with white ash base is a beautiful complement to the Eames lounge chair and ottoman with white ash veneer and pearl MCL Leather.
When a piece of furniture is so distinctive and desired, copycats come out of the woodwork. To let you know that your table is authentic, the signature of Isamu Noguchi appears on the longest edge of the glass top and on a medallion to the underside of the base. Under the medallion, his initials are stamped into the base.
"Everything is sculpture," said Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. And he created sculptures out of anything he could get his hands on—stone, metal, wood, clay, bone, paper. Unwilling and unable to be pigeonholed, he created sculptures that could be as abstract as Henri Moore's and as realistic as Leonardo's. "To limit yourself to a particular style may make you an expert of that particular viewpoint or school, but I do not wish to belong to any school," he said. "I am always learning, always discovering."
The story behind the Noguchi table is a fascinating one, and Noguchi tells it in his 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."