We’re often asked to weigh in on what makes or breaks a living room. And while it would be tempting to say the sofa, in reality, there is another unsung hero who works just as hard for our affection. Isamu Noguchi knew it when he gave his name to his bestselling design for Vitra. And so did Charlotte Perriand. It is, of course, the coffee table. At once a sculptural centrepiece. And the platform on which our interests are made known.
As with all things, this year’s crop is a little different. Determined not so much to think outside of the box but do away with it all together. There are cosmic-looking styles whose planetary discs slot together like a glamorous game of Jenga. And daring angles the likes of which haven’t been since the Tower of Pisa started to lean. All promise to add drama to lacklustre lounges. While helping to keep everything you love, close. Here are 10 of the most Instagrammable coffee tables currently on our radar…
The definition of a Chimera depends on you ask. If it’s an economist you’re gabbing with, he’ll tell you that it’s the holy grail of financial outcomes. Something highly desirable, bordering on illusory, and nigh on impossible to achive. Ask a greek historian, however, and they’ll regail you with tales about a fire-breathing monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. We like to think that this coffee table sits somewhere in the middle. Impossibly beautiful thanks to its dappled glass surface. And forged in a powerful fire, before being hammered into shape by Italian artisans.
Marble becomes lightweight and lovely in the hands of Pierre Charpin. Much like the Bauhaus designers of old, he plays with clean lines to create a lithe designer coffee table which doesn’t compromise on luxury. Books and trinkets can easily be stashed above board on its generous top or stacked neatly below in the three-pillar version. We recommend pairing it with the matching Astair Lounge Chair for full sculptural effect.
If all the world’s a stage, then what better space to let the drama unfold than atop the Arena coffee table by Cattelan Italia. One of the few extendable coffee tables on our radar, its circular tops have been designed to swing sideways to create additional space for glasses, objects and books. Perfect for those entertain regularly. Or who seek ways to switch up their decor at a moment’s notice.
Ortis uses meandering lines to explore unconventional symmetries. In doing so, the curvy base brings to mind the playful silhouettes of the 1970s — an easy way to add personality or flair to any living space. Gorgeous as a stand alone or in groovy archipelagos, we recommend mix and matching tops to create a highly tactile, idiosyncratic focal point.
Dramatic, daring and always changing thanks to its burnished brass surface, Monete is a sculpture for living. There’s also something cosmic about the way it slots together; sturdy and eternal with not a straight line in sight. Beautiful for maximalist homes or as a counterpoint to a more classic scheme, it promises to become an instant talking point in any space.
Bayus offers old-worldly elegance for the modern age. This year, Porada’s bestselling collection gains a beautiful coffee table, complete with leather-lined drawers and rich walnut finishes. Suitable for homes of all sizes, it offers perhaps the most discrete storage options on this shortlist, with three storage compartments on either side.
Slot invites the drama of the dining room into the lounge. The immediate impression is of a table in motion, made dramatic and eye-catching by the use of architectural, slanting struts. An unusual and slightly hypnotic focal point, it promises to become a beautiful centrepiece around which contemporary life revolves.
When designing the Epic Collection, creative duo Space Copenhagen drew on the enduring majesty of Athenian and Roman architecture. Their monolithic forms reference the ancient pillars of the Colosseum — a mix of hexagonal and circular shapes that create strength through geometry. While they are best known in tactile travertine, Space Copenhagen has just unveiled a steel version, unearthing a new industrial language for this contemporary classic.
Attention to detail is a quality that gets referenced a lot in our industry. And yet we’ve found that no design house takes this commitment quite as seriously as Poltrona Frau. One case in point is the Pierre Coffee Table. The brainchild of legendary architect Jean Marie Massaud, it sees a sheet of Nero Pagado marble cut into tiles of different widths before being carefully aligned so that the natural veins run parallel to the longest side of the table. Mind boggling meticulous? Perhaps. The results, however, speak for themselves.
Patricia Urquiola’s Sengu series provides a masterclass in contrast. The satisfying, rotund silhouette is complemented by an asymmetric marble base, engaging in a beautiful game of solids and voids. Each one is a different height, ensuring that they can work together as generous nesting tables or tucked neatly alongside the sofa of the same name.