In the early 1900’s F.Stuart Foote, founder of the American Imperial Furniture company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, claimed to have invented the coffee table whilst helping his wife prepare for a party. He simply lowered the legs of an existing dining table to make a centrepiece from which coffee could be served. However, Foote’s claim to this invention is disputed by many and in fact the humble coffee table is likely to have emerged from a much more complex set of historical and social circumstances. Here at Kassavello, we love to understand the story behind each of the pieces in our collection – from their historical roots through to innovative methods of craftsmanship that enable the creation of exquisite pieces.
Tea tables are known to have been in existence since the 1720s – typically a tall and usually round piece of furniture, they were used to host social gatherings in the home, not only to serve tea, which had become a popular import from the far east, but also cocktails. By contrast the first coffee tables were much lower – at around 45cm in height. Professional interior designers working during the 1900’s seized upon this new form as its low height made it perfect for enhancing a small space, suiting both upper and middle class homes where coffee had dethroned tea as the social drink of choice.
For balanced proportion, a coffee table should be approximately two thirds of the length of your sofa. Fitting the bill perfectly for sitting areas of different sizes is the sublime Ray coffee table which can be used individually or coupled with the smaller Ray side table to enhance a more substantial space. The three delicate rays create an exquisite design feature to the table top and offer a wealth of creative possibilities through customisation with a range of marbles, metals and woods. This unique silhouette offers a perfect compliment to a modern space. Shown here in a light bronze structure with a nero marquina and marron vita marble tops respectively.
Just as they did over 100 years ago, a striking coffee table can still create a strong focal point within a living space. And what better example than the Emery centre table. Structured in stunning ironwood with a high gloss varnish finish, the beauty of the wood is enhanced by a simple glass top and polished brass detailing. An elegant addition to any home.
Taking its cue from another historical influence – the Chess centre table was inspired by the evolution of chess, invented in Asia around 1500 years ago. This idiosyncratic piece depicts the game’s most iconic move – the checkmate – in which the horse defeats the king, metaphorically ‘melting’ into the table. If you are seeking a table from which not only to serve coffee but to also serve as a talking point then look no further! Handcrafted from beautiful walnut root veneer and polished brass, it is a coffee table that the esteemed F. Stuart Foote would surely approve of.
To view more stunning coffee tables by wonderful Portuguese designers, take a look through our website. And if you’d like to share your own favourites, please do let us know on Twitter @kassavello – we’d love to hear from you.