Isokon Dining Table
Marcel Breuer, 1936
A model B.T.3 table by the Modernist Hungarian architect & furniture designer Marcel Breuer, 1936. More commonly the table is referred to as the ‘Isokon Dining Table’ on account of being designed for the Isokon company and used in the Isokon building’s restaurant & club, the Isobar.
Like many, Breuer left Germany when Hitler took power in 1933. After two years in various European cities, he arrived in London in 1935 where he lived for two years at the Isokon Flats. Whilst in Hampstead, alongside his architectural partnership with F.R.S. Yorke, Breuer worked as head of design for Isokon until he left for America in 1937.
Amongst the design cognoscenti, Breuer and his range of tubular steel furniture were famous in Britain ahead of his arrival in 1935. However, he had never worked in plywood until his collaboration with Isokon. Assumedly, Breuer was pleased with his bent wood designs as he furnished his subsequent homes in America with Isokon pieces.
The benefits of using plywood as a material are readily seen in the B.T.3. The table is both extremely light and strong for its size; it can be moved single-handed and yet can bear the weight of a person sitting on it. In addition to the strength gained from the lamination process, the bends in the legs and tabletop help increase its stability.
The independent T-shaped legs have been created by joining two sections of wood bent into right angles. Placed together, these create a fin which runs the length each leg and reinforce it.
The two long sides of the rectangular tabletop are also bent into right angles. This bend makes the tabletop rigid and creates a parallel plane to help stabilise the legs. Further, the rounded outer angle of the bend in the tabletop creates a comfortable soft edge for those sat at it.
This example of the Isokon Dining Table was made circa 1982 by Windmill Furniture, UK. The fantastically rich honey coloured patina that has developed across the lively grained birch wood is almost as mesmerising as the ingenuity of the table’s design and construction.
Specifications:Height: 72 cm
Height to underside: 63 cm
Width: 136 cm
Depth: 66 cm