Monday, June 20, 2011

The Adaptable Parsons Table

It all started with this. 
 Thomas Jayne's work in Architectural Digest

Then in the same issue......Amelia Handegan.  Same type table, very different rooms.

The simple Parsons table is one of the most adaptable.  Suitable in any type of material, in any type of environment.  A chameleon of sorts. Dress it up or down. Lacquer it, leave it in a natural wood, perhaps enliven it with a special finish, or douse it with a bold color.  It can take a back seat and allow the more ornate around it to stand out or it can command all the attention with it's boxy, simple, structural form.

The Parsons table design is credited to Jean-Michel Frank from Parsons Paris School of Art and Design in the 1930's. It came out of a project from one of his courses, according to the NY Times in an article in 2006. The challenge was to create a table that despite the finish, could maintain it's integrity. 

I do believe it has.

This project featured in Lonny, is where one might expect a Parsons table to be found.  Modern, clean-lined, plain and simple next to all that pattern.

David deMatei and Patrick Wade - House Beautiful

However, it is at home in a more traditional environment. (While not a true Parsons, where the leg thickness equals the top thickness, this is an adaption of one.)

Parsons tables make great desks, coffee tables, or dining tables.

Sig Bergamin - Elle Decor

Anne-Marie Midy and Jorge Almada - Elle Decor

Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller - Elle Decor

Juan Carlos Garcia - Elle Decor

Elaine Griffin - Elle Decor

Good design is functional, timeless, adaptable, and beautiful.


Anonymous said...

oh yes, that image from Thomas Jayne really inspired me as well...
I too have been thinking about how lovely these tables are..
and I think you've selected some of the best images of them..
love T. Jayne's blue table as well as the black one with the dark chocolate walls..
love the whole room in the elle decor pic right below it too..
you have a fabulous eye for details, Carla...


Teresa Hatfield ~ Splendid Sass said...

I love parsons tables. I can't take my eyes off of the blue table. Have used it as my desktop view all week. It is in such stark contrast.
Great post. Thank you for sharing the history too.

Karen said...

You can never go wrong with simple, clean lines.

Kifus said...

Lovely post, Carla. The Parsons table does make a statement, doesn't it? Love the first pic!

quintessence said...

Definitely a classic in all forms. And so incredibly versatile as you have shown!!

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

I admit, it has taken me years to appreciate parsons table and chairs. I am a recent convert. These are some lovely examples of how they can be used beautifully.

Anonymous said...

We love a good Parsons table! It is so chic and so versatile as your amazing photos show! Thanks for the inspiration.
xo E + J

Mary Ann Pickett said...

Always a good look! I love them in white. Great photos and many pretty rooms.

The enchanted home said...

To me this will always be one of the staple classics. It can be used in anything from an ultra modern space to mixing it into a very traditional showed this adaptability beautifully!

Hill Country House Girl said...

Carla, I have always loved Parsons tables. You give great examples of using them in classic ways and in new ways. LOVE the blue one mixed with traditional chairs!

Kellie Collis said...

It's a lovely table! The simplicity makes it even more beautiful. Have a gorgeous day, Kellie xx said...

How killer and bold is that blue table in the formal dining room? I would never think to do that! Love it. There are some great shots here. What a great lesson in the Parsons table, thanks! Hope you are having a nice start to the summer.

under spanish moss said...

Great examples of how versatile a parsons table can be. It's amazing how different they can look depending up the color and what it's paired with.

My Interior Life said...

Love them all! Recently bought a Parsons console table off Craigslist that I just recovered with grasscloth. I'll be doing a post about it soon. Thanks for all the inspiration!

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