On A Pedestal: The Elegance Of The Pedestal Table

The Elegance Of The Pedestal Table

A pedestal table is a table which is supported by a broad central column with a set of feet or base. The top base of the pedestal table is attached under the center of the table top. Strength in form. The term is often referred to tall, narrow tables which resemble classical pedestals. The varied styles and ranges of shapes and sizes of pedestal tables offer choices that allow for personal style and coordination with any interior room design. A classic, indeed, that adds elegance to any decor.

The large pedestal table is not only an impressive centerpiece to an entry or a dining room, but even the smallest of versions of these tables provide design interest, creating their own focal point. It is the large pedestal table, however, that prominently sets the stage for discussion. This table looks splendid in any setting surrounded by any style chair. Here is where I think this table excels. Personal style can have a field day with this table, allowing for the mix of many chairs due to lack of obstructive table legs. Not only does the lack of table legs allow for the accommodation of many chairs, but a diverse style of chairs, as well. There is, indeed, no compromise for leg room. We all seem to require it! In addition, a round table allows for conversation in the round! Visible eye contact of all guests allow for a memorable meal, indeed. Imagine actually hearing all of the conversations around the table without straining to see and hear a guest! Aside from this aspect, the round shape of the pedestal table seems to blend into the environment it surrounds, creating an illusion of vast space.

It is said that the ancient Egyptians used wood or stone for their tables and fashioned them like pedestals. Who knew? The Assyrians were said to use metal and other ancient civilizations were known to use marble. A precursor of great style, indeed! Historically, some of the first type of pedestal tables were from the Colonial period of the 1600’s to 1700’s. These small tables with three legs were known as ‘candle-stands’ or tripods, and stood next to a bed or chair, holding a candle. Alas, the days before electricity! Function and purpose! It was not until the late 1700’s that the pedestal table came into vouge. They were originally designed to provide an elegant look for small dining rooms. In larger homes, it is said that the pedestal table was larger and was often used as a game table for the parlor. Who knew? The pedestal table is also found in 18th century English furniture as well as in the 19th century Regency and Duncan Phyfe designs. Often, wooden rollers were added underneath each foot for the ease of mobility. Again, design and function. The pedestal tables became common in many homes and aside from their use as a dining table, these tables were also either utilized, depending upon size, as side tables, writing desks or display tables. Alas! The art of the table-scape inspired by the pedestal table! Of course!

During the Victorian Era (1837-1901), the versatile pedestal tables became widely popular and also more ornate. The bases of the tables became thicker, ending in shorter legs or simply a base with feet. The tops of these tables ranged from round to hexagon in shape and the ornate carvings were not only added to the pedestal base, but also to the feet. The tables were comprised of various woods, but especially mahogany and oak and drew attention to the fine lines, the beautiful wood grains, carvings or engravings on the foot and base of the pedestal. Table inserts provided further versatility to enlarge the surface space as needed. Again, form and function paired with great design! The pedestal table became an unspoken quintessential requirement for the Victorian dining room. It became a standard. In the 1900’s, it was the Mission style pedestal table, known as the forerunner of the Art Deco tables, which gained a spotlight in design. The allure of the pedestal table has continued through the 20th century and to today. The styles of the pedestal table can be found in many shapes, including round, oval, rectangular and square- a range of styles from a range of periods. Quite a history in design with this iconic classic…

Center Stage Of Style: The Pedestal Table

Of course, I would not give this topic of the pedestal table fair coverage if I did not include the contribution given to the world of interior design by Eero Saarinen with the creation of his iconic “Tulip Table”. A modern pedestal of style, if you will…..

Eero Saarinen & His Iconic “Tulip Table”

In 1956 architect Eero Saarinen, known for his design of the St. Louis Gateway Arch , in St. Louis, Missouri, and other iconic designs in architectural wonder, researched organic furniture. This led him to create the most revolutionary design of Mid-Century design….the ‘Tulip’ Pedestal collection. This collection was constructed of fiberglass and cast alluminum, and it is said that this collection is a perfect example that showcases Saarinen’s distinctive way of balancing art and technology. Saarinen’s solution to the “Slum of legs” (table and chair legs) that he perceived as making for “an ugly, confusing and unrestful world”. Who knew? It was in 1957 that Eero Saarinen’s ‘Tulip’ pedestal collection was unveiled to the design world by Knoll. It is said that Saarinen named his collection ‘Tulip’ due to this slender, elegant stem-like pedestals and organic shapes that characterized the pieces. In 1969 this collection was awarded The Museum Of Modern Art Award. It is no wonder that the Tulip pedestal collection has remained a mainstay of Knoll even today. Timeless, indeed.

Although Saarinen’s designs were experimental in the use of materials and minimalist forms, the appeal of this table has certainly outlived the period in history in which they were created. In fact, 2007 marked the 50th Anniversary of this iconic collection and a commemorative edition was created by Knoll to celebrate the status of this symbolic collection (www.knoll.com) New finishes made available for the anniversary included a platinum base finish and the reintroduction of teak and rosewood tabletops, in addition to the laminate, marble , veneer or granite options. Style and choice, indeed! In addition, this modern, sleek table can also be paired with varied styles of chairs and look sensational. My favorite pairing? The classic vintage French folding chair…a fantastic visual of how vintage marries modern! ( Alas, I used the same photo showcasing this twice in the compilations!)

Eero Saarinen’s Iconic Tulip Pedestal Table

Consider the pedestal table. Carved or painted, graced with ornamental design or simplistic and minimalistic, the aesthetic desired is available to add a statement of elegance to any space. Whether single columns or ornate indulgences, each pedestal is its own signature to any space. Choosing a vintage table with patina or a more modern interpretation is based on your own design sense, for certain. Even having the option of a custom pedestal table today is an exciting option for this investment piece. Although the style of the pedestal table and the feet that uphold it change from era to era, the basic of this design classic remains consistent. Elegance on a pedestal, indeed.



7 thoughts on “On A Pedestal: The Elegance Of The Pedestal Table

  1. Great post! I’ve just showcased my pedestal table on yesterday’s blog! I love it even more know! Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much! I love the fact that I have added to your perspective, if but in a small way : )
      I believe that if one takes the time to peruse my posts, to walk away with a nugget of knowledge or appreciation of the subject is always my goal…
      Again, thanks for always sharing your thoughts!

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