You’re likely to have spotted this iconic coffee table somewhere, whether it’s on Pinterest boards, on screen (The Big Bang Theory, Conan, and Homeland, to name a few), or at the museums. With a clear glass tabletop and an interlocking wooden base, the sculptural masterpiece is none other than the Noguchi coffee table.
The well-celebrated piece is perhaps one of the most renowned mid-century designs, with a rich history and distinct silhouette. The chic table presents a deft harmony of form and function with its distinctive configuration. An exemplar of exceptional craftsmanship, it highlights the beauty of simplicity—concealing nothing and revealing everything.
The Noguchi coffee table gained its namesake from its creator, Japanese-American artist and industrial designer Isamu Noguchi. From a young age, the designer had a keen interest in sculpting; he briefly worked for sculptor Gutzon Borglum after high school, and took evening sculpture classes under sculptor Onorio Ruotolo at the Leonardo da Vinci School of Art during university.
In the 1940s after World War Two, he set up a studio in New York City where he fervently explored the extensive possibilities of working with new materials and methods. The Noguchi coffee table is said to be an evolution of The Goodyear Table, a 1939 design that Noguchi did for Anson Goodyear, the then president of the Museum of Modern Art.