15 February 2008

Children as acessories

Yesterday's New York Times ran a really amusing piece about what happens to exquisitely designed homes once a child or two enters the picture. "Parent shock: children are not decor" has had me laughing since I read it yesterday. I just love the Times sometimes. Who am I kidding? I love the Times all the time.

Click on this link to read the whole article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/14/garden/14kids.html

What caught my eye was the image here that shows a happy dad and son with a foam-edged Noguchi Table in the foreground. A Noguchi Table is a modern design classic and it's been in continuous production since Herman Miller (www.hermanmiller.com) introduced it in 1947. The Noguchi table was the brainchild of the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isamu_Noguchi) and is a loving ode to simplicity and utility. A 3/4" thick piece of glass seems to float over a tripod made from two pieces of interlocking wood. Absolutely stunning, but a recipe for disaster when there's a two-year-old in the room. Keep the kid out of the room is my advice, but then again that's coming from a 40-something with no kids. I suppose that children are important, but for Pete's sake that's an original!

Here's what one looks like without the child-proof foam edge. A real Noguchi will set you back around $1400 and you can see them at Design Within Reach (www.dwr.com) and Room and Board (www.roomandboard.com), among others. Any Noguchi you'll see at either of those places is a real, Herman-Miller produced original. Although I have to admit, Modernica (www.modernica.net) in LA makes a pretty convincing knock off for around half the price of a real one. Of course, the knock off won't be signed and will lose its value over time.

Wrapping the edges of that table in foam, while jarring, is probably something Isamu Noguchi himself would have approved of. The whole point of the modernists was to bring beauty to the masses through furnishings they could afford and live with. If you ask me, it's a lesson that could be re-learned by more than a few of the neo-modernists out there.

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