Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Noguchi Christmas

Isamu Noguchi produced this “iconic” coffee table in 1944, the year before I was born. I first saw one in 1966 or so, in the home of Bob and Edith Fusillo, in Atlanta – about the same time I was learning other really important stuff like “the Goon Show” and who Barbara Hepworth was.

This table has been written about so much (here, for example), it’s like Googling Shakespeare. It has been on my mind, in my mind, for more than 40 years.

Because the table is still being manufactured by Herman Miller, Inc., in Zeeland, MI – and because I saw one on the showroom floor at Design Within Reach here in Houston – I received it for Christmas.

Thank you, Bob and Edith, for the teaching. Thank you, Barbara, for the gifting.

3 comments:

Edith Fusillo said...

Dear Richard, I know you will both enjoy the table: it is one of the most beautiful pieces of useful stuff in existence. I'm sure we've told you the story of our first one. Bob wanted the Noguchi, and I prefered the Barcelona table. Of course, the family elder won, and once we had it (then it was real ebony, lovely black with the grain visible) I loved it too.

Both of our kids teethed on it, by making their way around its smooth edge on their knees as they gnawed the glass. Neil managed, when he was about 18 months old, to fall backwards and cut a slice out of his head on it. And then we went to England, and the Noguchi, along with everything else we owned, was stolen. By that time, Herman Miller had stopped carrying the table, so we had no choice but to replace it with the Barcelona table. We loved it, too, but it was never the warm and inviting presence that the Noguchi was.

So when Herman Miller re-introduced the table, we snapped it up at Knoll's yearly half-price sale. Trouble was, the "ebony" was no longer ebony, but ash painted black. We sent it back for the walnut one. And we have loved having it back, especially as there is no need to choose between the two tables now. They have very different characters, very different personalities, and like two disparate but wonderful friends, they are both welcome. Enjoy!

Love to you both,
Edith

S Reeves said...

Very nifty. And check this out, you can get it a pet Noguchi http://www.retromodern.com/item_detail.asp?4127

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for you, what a wonderful table, and gift. I'm jealous!
-Rachel