When a piece of furniture becomes much more than what can be seen with the naked eye and begins to gain subjective value that goes far beyond a passing fad or a trend of the moment, it’s easy to understand that you’re dealing with a design legendary. Such is the case of the Noguchi Table, one of the best-known, best-selling, and applauded coffee tables of the last seventy years. This is easily said, but it’s not a record that many designs can boast of, especially in an era like the present, in which there’s a catalog of such diverse proposals and a wide range of styles with original ideas to contribute.
To understand what’s the key to the success of a piece of furniture such as the Noguchi table, it’s necessary to take a brief look at the mind behind the work, the man who forged this design with his own hands and broke the usual archetypes according to the which were designing tables made within this category: Isamu Noguchi. This artist and designer of Japanese-American origin was born in 1904 and would become one of the most recognized and critically acclaimed names throughout the 20th century. His most important works in the world of the arts would be within the field of sculpture, and this would be directly reflected in his furniture designs.
The Noguchi Table Is a Powerfully Artistic Piece
Much of the greatness of Isamu Noguchi’s work was based on experimentation. The constant search to generate designs that were authentic enough, capable of breaking archetypes, was one of his greatest incentives, and this was greatly favored by the historical context in which the designer carried out his most important works. The twentieth century was the scene of several of the most momentous events in human history, including the two world wars and the popularization of modernity as a predominant trend that would have a major impact on all aspects of human life.
Besides, his training as an artist and creative was directly influenced by the family and the social environment in which he developed, considering that his father was the renowned poet Yone Noguchi. Isamu’s work is not only known for the Noguchi table and its furniture designs, but also other artistic creations and experimentations within the fields of sculpture, gardening, lighting designs, scenery, ceramics, and architecture. As expected, a coffee table born from his creativity couldn’t be an ordinary item, but a remarkable piece that, in fact, would become a highly influential design.
Materials, Shapes, and Style Integrated Into a Coffee Table
Audacity was a constant in his creations, characterized by integrating aspects of various artistic disciplines that winked towards the modern and the traditional, the oriental and the western, the pragmatic, and the expressive, all at the same time. This boldness is reflected, of course, in the Noguchi table, as well as in most of his pieces, and this is something that would set a new standard and benchmark for other designers of his time and later generations. It can be said that Noguchi was an integrationist, not only in the world of the arts but also in his vision of reality in general, since his work was constantly nourished by the ideas that he had from his constant trips around the world.
Isamu lived in Japan until he was thirteen, and after that, he moved to Indiana. In the last stage of his life, he had a study in both Japan and New York. His broad vision of creativity also included handling various materials such as marble, stainless steel, wood, bronze, aluminum, granite, basalt, etc. He seemed to have an artistic mission to find new forms of expression by merging different resources, both physical and cultural, to produce cutting-edge works, which equally impressed art critics as well as furniture designers, professional decorators, artists, and common users. It’s no coincidence that the Noguchi Table so beautifully combines wood, tempered glass, and biomorphic styling, all in the same piece.
Where Did The Inspiration For This Coffee Table Came From?
One of Isamu Noguchi’s greatest artistic influences was the work of Constantin Brancusi. In fact, it’s believed that this work profoundly changed his artistic direction. His thoughts about the Romanian’s work led him to seek inspiration in new ways that expressed modernism and abstraction, which would allow him to reflect great lyrical and emotional expressiveness, with a touch of mystery. His unstoppable trips through Asia, Mexico, and Europe allowed him to collaborate with other renowned artists and to live on the commissions obtained by his works. It wasn’t until 1947 when the Herman Miller company decided to include in its catalog his famous Noguchi table, which its representatives officially described as “sculpture-for-use” and “design for production”.
That is, the intrinsically artistic value that the Noguchi table demonstrated at a glance and the cultural impact it was intended to cause, would place it at a midpoint between art and furniture, something that characterizes very few pieces within that style. The significance is overwhelming. Just ask yourself: how many tables of this type have been in continuous production for more than seventy years? The Noguchi table has not only sold very well and has become a highly recognized model, but even today it continues to stand out for its originality and visual appeal, its curved lines, and the very special structure of its wooden base.
A Noguchi Table Replica Is an Alternative at Your Fingertips
There’s something you need to know: if you’re one of the people who want to have one of these tables in the living room or some other appropriate space in your house or office, but you’re not currently in a position to make a significant investment of money in a piece of this type, a Noguchi Table reproduction could be your perfect choice, considering that some replicas, such as the one manufactured by Barcelona Designs, are first-class pieces, made under the strictest quality controls, with first-rate matrices and general characteristics that perfectly emulate those of the original product. Also, this piece is sold at a price three or four times less than that of Herman Miller.
The advantages of having a piece of this class are wonderful, inexhaustible, and represent the good taste and a style focused on the functional and the simple, with a recognizable artistic touch that has followed, continues, and will continue to dazzle several generations through the decades.