The Noguchi Coffee Table is one of the
most popular coffee table designs ever conceived.
Inspired by the Japanese American artist, Isamu Noguchi, the
Noguchi Coffee Table blends sculpture and
art with functionality.
Combining seemingly opposites of wood as the base and glass
as the top, a Noguchi Coffee Table can be enjoyed as much for
art as it will be as a utilitarian table.
When one looks at a coffee table by Noguchi the question
will arise: is it a table or is it a sculpted piece of art?
The answer is: it is really both. When you look at these
coffee tables you will quickly see they are the very embodiment
of a balance between art and sculpture.
Noguchi Coffee Table
It was in 1939 that Noguchi designed his first table. The
work was commissioned by A. Conger Goodyear, who was at that
time president of the Museum of Modern Art, and wanted the
table for his new home. The following year, he made a coffee
table for Robsjohn Gibbings, a British-born architect and
furniture designer. This piece was a smaller slightly different
version of the Goodyear table.
In 1944. he was tasked to illustrate George Nelson’s article
“How to Make a Table” which he promptly did by modifying the
Gibbing’s table. This modification is what we now know as the
Noguchi coffee table.
Since 1947 the Herman Miller Furniture Company has
exclusively manufactured this table design where George Nelson
became the department of design director. From the time it was
first introduced up to now, this table design has never lost
it’s appeal to artists, interior decorators, and ordinary
furniture owners due to its minimalist and modern feel.
Isamu Noguchi realized the value and became the master of
maximizing the utilization of space in his designs. According
to the artist himself, the success of this coffee table design
is where he truly succeeded in the field of designing furniture
for industrial use.
What to Look for in Buying a
Noguchi Coffee Table
Here are the key points that you should look for in the
coffee table designed by Noguchi.
- This coffee table features a marriage of glass and
wood. The tabletop is made from free form shaped glass and
the base is a thick solid wood at right angles to each
other. It may look fragile, but it is actually quite
- The Herman Miller Furniture Company exclusively
manufactures this coffee table with a variety of price
- To determine if it’s authentic Noguchi coffee table,
look for the artist’s signature on the glass top and at the
base. The artist too has rare pieces coffee table that he
himself made and if you’re being sold one, look for his
signature which he signs using black permanent marker.
- The wood base is made from Walnut or Cherry types of
wood and the glass top will have a thickness of exactly ¾
inch. Further, the true table has the exact measurements of
15.75 inches in height, 50 inches in length, and 36 inches
in width. Any variance will not be an exact replica.
The Noguchi coffee table was fashioned in the mid-century
therefore they are perfect for homes built around that period
or later but contain modern and/or abstract elements of design.
Often paired with contemporary decor, this version of
coffee table furniture will
serve as an excellent compliment to any living room in a
home or commercial setting.