Object of Affection: Noguchi Coffee Table – Afternoon Light

OBJECT OF AFFECTION:

WHO: Isamu Noguchi
WHERE: Zeeland, Michigan
WHEN: 1947
WHAT: Coffee table

Biomorphism sounds like something out of a sci-fi manga, but really, it’s just an art and design principle that aims to mimic naturally occurring patterns and shapes found in nature and organisms. None of that really matters, because this table is dope and it’s a midcentury modern classic designed by the one and only, OG hapa, ex-lover of Frida, sculpture god Isamu Noguchi who also happened to design the first electronic baby monitor. Use that last tidbit when someone compliments you on your super nice coffee table.

The coffee table that would become part of one of the most, if not the most influential modern furniture catalog of all time started as an evolution of a table Isamu Noguchi designed for a member of the Goodyear family (yeah, the family with the tires and the blimps), who was also president of MoMA at the time. Recruited by Herman Miller on the strength of that commission, after a really well-intentioned but totally bonkers self-imposed stint alongside detained Americans of Japanese descent at the Poston, Arizona War Relocation tCenter (!), Noguchi created this biomorphic beauty with two identical wood shapes that serve as a self-supporting base for a heavy glass top. The table is so sturdy the glass top simply rests on the wooden supports without connectors, in perfect balance and organic harmony. Originally released in 1947, the table proved to be so popular it stayed in production for thirty years. In the ‘80s, Herman Miller re-released the now iconic design and it has remained in production ever since.

Oft imitated and for good reason, splurge on an authentic new or vintage Noguchi coffee table because heft and quality count here. Its one of our favorite modern classics, but it’s hard to stop there because everything Noguchi touched is pure gold. Yes, we’re looking at you, every single one of you, Akari Light Scuptures.

Words by John Moy
Images courtesy of Barnebys