Noguchi Rudder Table
Designed in 1949 by Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi (2 years after the famed Noguchi Table), the Noguchi Rudder Table is made from a single piece of solid wood, 2 hairpin chrome legs, and a single "rudder" leg that matches the top. It mimics the Noguchi Table form, but with a lighter appearance. Its features include:
- Solid wood tabletop
- A delicate, simple design.
An Iconic Minimal Design
Noguchi once said, "Everything is sculpture," and the Noguchi Rudder Table reflects that idea perfectly. It's comprised of two interlocking base pieces and a transparent piece of glass that allows the impressive design to be completely visible no matter what angle you're viewing it from.
Dimensions & Measurements
- Overall Height: 15.75"
- Overall Width: 49.75
- Overall Depth: 35.75
For any custom options below, call or chat with a product specialist to build.
Tabletop and Rudder Finish:
- White Ash
- Ebony on Maple
PRODUCT DESIGN STORY
This 1949 design by Isamu Noguchi follows his more famous Noguchi Coffee Table of 1947. The Rudder Table shares a near-identically shaped and sized top as the glass-topped Coffee Table, but with a more airy, nautically-inspired base. The table’s name stems from the character of its single wood leg support, which is reminiscent of a ship’s rudder. Paired with two metal hairpin legs, the table seems to visually rest on the rudder leg, lending a visual lightness and grace to the whole.
“Everything is sculpture,” said Isamu Noguchi. “Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.”
Noguchi believed the sculptor’s task was to shape space, to give it order and meaning, and that art should “disappear,” or be as one with its surroundings. Perhaps it was his dual heritage—his father was a Japanese poet, his mother a Scottish-American writer—that resulted in his way of looking at the world with an eye for “oneness.”
Unwilling and unable to be pigeonholed, Noguchi created sculptures that could be as abstract as Henri Moore’s or as realistic as Leonardo’s. He used any medium he could get his hands on: stone, metal, wood, clay, bone, paper, or a mixture of any or all—carving, casting, cutting, pounding, chiseling, or dynamiting away as each form took shape.
“To limit yourself to a particular style may make you an expert of that particular viewpoint or school, but I do not wish to belong to any school,” he said. “I am always learning, always discovering.”
His extraordinary range of projects included playgrounds and plazas, furniture and gardens, the stone-carved busts, and Akari paper lights, so delicate they could be folded and put into an envelope. He also designed numerous stage sets for dancer-choreographer Martha Graham, who was as much an influence on him as was his mentor, Constantin Brancusi.
Noguchi was intelligent, articulate, and sensitive. During World War II, at a dark time in U.S. history, he voluntarily entered a relocation camp for Japanese-Americans in Arizona—and then was unable to get permission to leave. After seven months, he was granted liberation. “I was finally free,“he said gratefully. ”. . . I resolved henceforth to be an artist only.”
His relationship with Herman Miller came about when a design of his was used to illustrate an article written by George Nelson called “How to Make a Table.” It became his famous “coffee table,” originally introduced in 1947 and reissued in 1984.
Other notable commissions include the gardens for the UNESCO Building in Paris, five fountains for the Supreme Court Building in Tokyo, and a high-relief mural for the Abelardo Rodriguez Market in Mexico City.
Noguchi died in 1988 after a brilliant career that spanned more than six decades. For someone who was told by his first art teacher at age 15 that he’d “never be a sculptor,” he left an amazing legacy.
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Herman Miller® is a pioneer in the furniture industry, an innovator whose human-centered, problem-solving approach to design has introduced new ways of living and working for over 100 years. Environmentally-friendly design, lean manufacturing, ergonomics, the open office, even American modernism itself: Herman Miller and our designers have had a hand in shaping it all. In the spirit of our founder, D.J. De Pree, who established a willingness to abandon ourselves creatively to the influence of others, we’ve partnered with the world’s leading designers for generations—from midcentury icons George Nelson, Charles and Ray Eames, and Alexander Girard to Michael Anastassiades, Scholten & Baijings, Yves Béhar, and more of today’s leading design minds. Our work with them continues to explore design as a method of change, and the enriching value authenticity brings to our lives. Together, we’re shaping the new kinds of spaces where people will live and work for years to come.