The Noguchi Coffee table by Herman Miller is quite literally, the perfect balance between art and furniture. Sculptor Isamu Noguchi created his distinctive table by joining a curved, solid wood base with a free form glass top. This marriage of sculptural form and everyday function has made the Noguchi table an understated and beautiful element in homes since it's introduction in 1948. Available in walnut, natural cherry, ebony or white ash.
Dimensions 15.75" H x 36" D x 50" W
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Sculptor Isamu Noguchi created his distinctive table by joining a curved, solid wood base with a freeform glass top. The ethereal result does not diminish the practical design, The Noguchi table is 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.
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 and 36 inches deep, Allowing the Noguchi table by Herman Miller to fit in a variety of spaces.
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, in early 2003, under the direction of the Noguchi Foundation, Herman Miller added the signature of Isamu Noguchi to the longest edge of the glass top and a medallion to the underside of the base. Under the medallion, Noguchi's initials are stamped into the base.
"Everything is sculpture," said Isamu Noguchi. "Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture."
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."
Unwilling and unable to be pigeonholed, Noguchi created sculptures that could be as abstract as Henri Moore's or as realistic as Leonardo's. He used any medium he could get his hands on: stone, metal, wood, clay, bone, paper, or a mixture of any or all--carving, casting, cutting, pounding, chiseling, or dynamiting away as each form took shape.
"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."
His extraordinary range of projects included playgrounds and plazas, furniture and gardens, the stone-carved busts, and Akari paper lights, so delicate they could be folded and put into an envelope. 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 was intelligent, articulate, and sensitive. During World War II, at a dark time in U.S. history, he voluntarily entered a relocation camp for Japanese-Americans in Arizona--and then was unable to get permission to leave. After seven months, he was granted liberation. "I was finally free," he said gratefully. "...I resolved henceforth to be an artist only."
His 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." It became his famous "coffee table," originally introduced in 1947 and reissued in 1984.
Other notable commissions include the gardens for the UNESCO Building in Paris, five fountains for the Supreme Court Building in Tokyo, and a high-relief mural for the Abelardo Rodriguez Market in Mexico City.
Noguchi died in 1988 after a brilliant career that spanned more than six decades. For someone who was told by his first art teacher at age 15 that he'd "never be a sculptor," he left an amazing legacy.