One can’t help but wonder whether life on the west coast subtly inspired Charles and Ray Eames when they designed the shape of the elliptical table, affectionately nicknamed the surfboard table. Sixty years after we introduced it, the table is more popular today than ever.
Designed in 1951, the elliptical table was created to complement and contrast the Eames low wire table released the previous year. Built from the same basic components—a plywood core laminated in plastic and a base formed from bent wire—the elliptical table is a statement piece. When compared to the demure proportions of the low wire table, the elliptical table’s size (89 inches) demands attention.
The shape of the top, while perhaps a nod to the California surf, was the result of numerous explorations to elegantly span two wire bases. The large ellipse allows the design to sit comfortably in front of a sofa or chairs, enhancing rather than dominating a space.