About Those Tables, Part 1

These tables are the ones I mean:

The persistent story–I’ve heard it for many years–is that they are by the Finnish designer and architect Alvar Aalto. They’re all over the library. They come in several sizes and you don’t have to look hard to find them:

But . . . could they be knock-offs? I found this 1946 letter in the library papers and to my ear it has the ring of something we would do to save some money:

On the other hand it sounds like the table that they describe as “the table that we inspected in your office” really was an Aalto. I had seen some others over in the School of Architecture a while back and they look quite different from the ones in the library:

So are these real Aaltos and the ones in Fondren sturdier imitations? That was my first theory . . .

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.

Bonus: There are some tiny ones too.

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5 Responses to About Those Tables, Part 1

  1. Leonard Lane says:

    I will withhold comment until Part 2!

  2. Michael Ross says:

    I look forward to Leonard’s comment … but it appears that the Aalto tables that are still on sale by the company that Alvar, his wife Aino and two other “young idealists” founded in 1935 (Artek) differ from the Rice tables pictured above in at least three details (https://www.artek.fi/en/products/tables):

    1) The bottom of each Rice legs has a metal foot or jacket; Artek’s Aalto tables are all wood down to the floor.

    2) The Rice tables appear to be sit higher above the legs’ horizontal portion than Artek’s Aalto tables, which appear to be set flush atop the bent-leg piece.

    3) In the middle of the horizontal portion of the Rice tables’ legs is a protruding piece that is not seen in Artek’s Aalto tables. (The vantage point of the “tiny” table’s photo hides its protruding piece, however, if it has one.)

  3. Pingback: “functional and utilitarian without neglecting the aesthetics,” 1949 | Rice History Corner

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