Above: A home in Wichita, Kansas, 1954. Photo: Julius Shulman / Getty Archive
The coffee table is very much a standard, even necessary, piece of home furnishing. Some experts believe the very first coffee table – that is a table made for the purpose of serving drinks in a lounge – was designed by E.W. Godwin of Britain in 1868, which was more like a taller side table. However, some say the Victorian fascination with Eastern cultures led many manufacturers of the time to copy the low tables popular in Japan. This is likely, at least in Europe, a more accurate source of the coffee table we are familiar with today.
It would seem that in a relatively short period of time, historically speaking, a table in front of the couch has become requisite and as surely are every architect has designed at least one (often uncomfortable) chair every designer has designed at least one coffee table. So, put your feet up (if that is allowed in your house) and take a look at some coffee tables.
A gallery of some well known, and some lesser known, coffee tables. Click on the image for full view. Please note this is page one of a two page gallery - click the 'next' button at the bottom of this gallery to see page two.2871 false false false
You know you see his designs when you see those legs.
Awesome post DC!
Not quite inline with modernism, but my mom took our large oak neoclassical dining table apart and placed it as a huge low slung coffee table- like she saw on “Bonanza” TV series in the ’60’s. As for me, i went on to first study architecture and then switched to graphic design as a major. I adopted modernism, but I will always remember my mom’s ingenuity.