13 APR 2017

A love Affair With Coffee Tables

Our top ten favourite coffee tables from the 50's and 60's – in no particular order

Words by Phoebe Houston Lowe

We thought it was about time we brought you a selection of our favourite mid-century coffee tables. Not merely for resting your flat whites - these are works of art that require your admiration and full attention.

1. The Noguchi Coffee Table. Designed by American artist and industrial designer Isamu Noguchi in 1939. Sleek and aerodynamic, made from one piece of freeform glass and two delicately balanced pieces of wood...perfection.

2. The Eames Surfboard Table. This is charming yet simple in form and perfectly captures the humour of Charles and Ray Eames' designs.

3. The Barcelona Coffee Table. Strikingly minimalist, this beauty encapsulates Mies Van Der Rohe's 'Less is More' approach to design and architecture. Van Der Rohe's influence on modern architecture can be seen within this chrome and glass coffee table.

4. All of George Nakashima's Coffee tables and benches. This master woodworker and architect, produced the most beautiful organic designs from various timbers to showcase the grain, burls and whorls in a piece of wood. His work is highly influenced by Japanese crafting techniques and evokes a poetic nature that sets him apart from other modernist creations of the period. His reverence for wood and his belief that his furniture could evince the 'soul of the tree' makes us fall in love with his work even more.

5. The Walnut Unicorn Side Table. By legendary Vladimir Kagan, no one can surpass Kagen when it comes to drama and dynamism, this gorgeous side table is as mythical as it is beautiful. Kagan catered to the tastes of the young city dwellers with signature designs that feature curves and dramatic out thrust legs. It has been said that Kagan made furniture sexy.

6. Poul Kjærholm PK61 Coffee Table. This innovative and iconic design utilises industrial methods and materials. A trained cabinet maker, Poul Kjærholm brought a sleek, graceful new style to Danish modern design in the 1960's.

7. This sculptural glass and walnut Adrian Pearsall Coffee table. Pearsall designed some of the most expressive and exuberant American furniture in the 1950's and and 60's. Fearless and vibrant, his designs reference everything from brutalism to the atomic age while aligning himself with modernist ethics.

8. This large Merrow Associates Chrome, Glass and Brazilian rosewood coffee table. Designed by Richard Young circa 1970's, this deluxe statement piece will look after your coffee and magazines just fine. Merrow Associates was started by Richard Young, a former student at the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen where he learned his trade from top Danish designer Ole Wanscher. Merrow Associates' designs are now highly collectable and we can see why.

9. Paul Evans Brutalist Coffee Table. We love this patinated sculptural steel base by sculptor and designer, Paul Evans. Evans’s work manifests a seemingly contradictory appreciation for both "folk art" forms and for new materials and technologies.

10. This divine iron and mosiac tile table by the one and only New Zealand legend John Crichton. A real museum piece, Crichton's attention to detail can be seen in each carefully chosen tile. John Crichton's pioneering work helped define what is now known as Pan Pacific modernism. He was influenced by local, Japanese, Pacific and American design and created some of our favourite mid-century New Zealand pieces.


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