Not currently on display at the V&A

Coffee Table

1940 (designed), from 1941 (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Coffee tables like this one were part of a new, informal way of living which developed in the USA and Europe during the 1920s and 30s. The manufacturer of this example, the Herman Miller Furniture Company, had started out in 1932 making reproduction furniture but, as a result of demand for a greater range of styles, began producing modern designs in the late 1930s. The company's founder, D. J. de Pree, initially dismissed the new bedroom suites as 'vocational school furniture', but was soon persuaded of their merit by the commercial success of the new lines. Gilbert Rohde, a former illustrator and photographer, designed a range of furniture for Herman Miller, much of which showed the influence of Surrealist artists like Miro in its biomorphic shapes.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Acacia burl veneer top, paldao edges, leather cloth covered legs
Brief Description
model 4186; American 1940 des. Gilbert Rohde man.Herman Miller
Physical Description
Acacia burl veneer top, paldao edges, leather cloth covered legs
Dimensions
  • Height: 38cm
  • Width: 104cm
  • Depth: 73.5cm
Production typeMass produced
Gallery Label
COFFEE TABLE Designed by Gilbert Rohde (American, 1894-1944) Made by Herman Miller Furniture Co., Zeeland, Michigan, USA Acacia burl top, paldao edges, leather cloth covered legs 1939-1940 Rohde was responsible for leading the Herman Miller Company away from reproduction towards progressive modern design. The company subsequently produced furniture by leading designers including Isamu Noguchi, George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, examples of which can be seen elsewhere in this gallery, The biomorphic shape, usually associated with the 1950s, shows the influence of Surrealist painting, in particular the work of Arp and Miro on contemporary designers. W.16-1993(1993-2006)
Summary
Coffee tables like this one were part of a new, informal way of living which developed in the USA and Europe during the 1920s and 30s. The manufacturer of this example, the Herman Miller Furniture Company, had started out in 1932 making reproduction furniture but, as a result of demand for a greater range of styles, began producing modern designs in the late 1930s. The company's founder, D. J. de Pree, initially dismissed the new bedroom suites as 'vocational school furniture', but was soon persuaded of their merit by the commercial success of the new lines. Gilbert Rohde, a former illustrator and photographer, designed a range of furniture for Herman Miller, much of which showed the influence of Surrealist artists like Miro in its biomorphic shapes.
Collection
Accession Number
W.16-1993

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record createdMarch 30, 2006
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