The essentials: 20 of the best tables

From the sculptural to the minimalist: 20 iconic tables selected by Domusweb.

The table is the latest important category of furniture to be defined. While evidence shows that the chair was already recognised by the ancient Egyptians, the table still did not “exist” in the 18th century, and even grand royal banquets were set up on improvised tops and support structures placed in the centre of ballrooms and covered with long tablecloths.

The table, as we now know it, originates from desks or more modest items, such as ironing boards, work tables (in particular those of upholsterers) or tables in farmhouse kitchens.

Now the wide range available to those choosing a table, beyond the choice of the shape of the top – from the more convivial round to the square, which significantly influences the shape of the room, to the classic rectangular – consists in two opposing options: “sculptural” tables or “minimal” tables.

The first stands out for its design, particularly in terms of the base, and for the dominant materials and/or colours.  Obviously, this type of table needs to be matched with very simple and austere chairs. The second, instead, is more functional, tending towards a light and “two-dimensional” design, and therefore can be combined with chairs with more elaborate fabric upholstery.

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