Jonathan Adler Nixon Table
21st Century and Contemporary American Regency Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Jonathan Adler for sale on 1stDibs
Although his namesake company has expanded into a mini empire touching just about every aspect of modern living — chairs and ice buckets, wallpaper and menorahs, chandeliers and rugs — made in myriad materials, Adler still creates almost every object in clay first. His guiding principle is a simple one: “I make the stuff I want to surround myself with, and I surround myself with it.”
Adler grew up in a New Jersey farm town. His grandfather became a local judge, and his father returned home after graduating from the University of Chicago. “My pop was a brilliantly talented artist. At one point, he had to decide whether to become an artist or a —,” he pauses, searching for the right word, “person.” His father became a lawyer but spent all his free time in his studio, “making art, unencumbered by the need to make money from it. It was a totally pure pursuit.” Adler’s mother, who had worked at Vogue and moved to the rural town reluctantly, was also creative, and both parents encouraged their three children’s creativity.
When he was 12, Adler went to sleepaway camp, where he threw his first pot. “And it was on,” he says. His parents bought him a pottery wheel, and he spent the remainder of his adolescence elbow-deep in clay. Even while majoring in semiotics and art history at Brown University, he hung out at the nearby Rhode Island School of Design, making pots.
Adler moved to New York City, worked briefly in entertainment, and in 1993 returned to his true love, throwing pots (in exchange for teaching classes) at a Manhattan studio called Mud Sweat & Tears. One day, at Balducci’s food market, he ran into Bill Sofield, an old friend who had recently cofounded, with Thomas O’Brien, the now-legendary Aero Studios, a design firm and shop. Sofield paid a studio visit and promptly gave him an order. Then, another friend introduced Adler to a buyer at Barneys New York, who also wrote an order.
For about three years after Adler began devoting himself to ceramics full-time. Despite the street cred of both Aero and Barneys, he also wasn’t really making enough money to live on. Then, in 1997, he teamed with Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit aimed at creating economic opportunity for skilled artisans in developing countries, and traveled to Peru to hire potters who could follow his designs, thus increasing production.
Adler’s first store opened in 1998, in the Soho shopping mecca in Manhattan. He now operates about two dozen shops, as far-flung as London and Bangkok. During Adler’s trip to Peru, he connected not only with potters but also with several talented weavers and decided to branch out into textiles. Other categories followed, leading him to travel the world in search of artisans who could execute his endless supply of ideas. In India, Adler found a man who’s expert at beadwork; he has his limed furniture made in Indonesia, his honey-colored wood pieces in Vietnam.
After a friend asked him to decorate her house, Adler expanded to interior design, taking on hotels as well as private residences — projects for which he remains “agnostic,” using pieces by other designers. “I really try to get to know my clients and then make them seem more glamorous and more eccentric than they think,” he says. “I see myself as a slimming mirror for them.”
A Close Look at regency Furniture
Like France’s Empire style, Regency-style furniture was rooted in neoclassicism; the characteristics of its bedroom furniture, armchairs, dining room tables and other items include clean lines, angular shapes and elegant details.
Dating roughly from the 1790s to 1830s, antique Regency-style furniture gets its name from Prince George of Wales — formally King George IV — who became Prince Regent in 1811 after his father, George III, was declared unfit to rule. England’s Regency style is one of the styles represented in Georgian furniture.
George IV’s arts patronage significantly influenced the development of the Regency style, such as the architectural projects under John Nash, which included the renovation of Buckingham House into the formidable Buckingham Palace with a grand neoclassical facade. Celebrated designers of the period include Thomas Sheraton, Henry Holland and Thomas Hope. Like Nash, Hope instilled his work with classical influences, such as saber-legged chairs based on the ancient Greek klismos. He is credited with introducing the term “interior decoration” to English with the 1807 publishing of Household Furniture and Interior Decoration.
Although more subdued than previous styles like Rococo and Baroque, Regency interiors incorporated copious use of chintz fabrics and wallpaper adorned in chinoiserie-style art. Its furniture featured fine materials and luxurious embellishments. Furniture maker George Bullock, for instance, regularly used detailed wood marquetry and metal ornaments on his pieces.
Archaeological discoveries in Egypt and Greece informed Regency-era details, such as carved scrollwork, sphinxes and palmettes, as well as the shape of furniture. A Roman marble cinerary chest, for example, would be reinterpreted into a wooden cabinet. The Napoleonic Wars also inspired furniture, with martial designs like tented beds and camp-style chairs becoming popular. While the reddish-brown mahogany was prominent in this range of pieces, imported woods like zebrawood and ebony were increasingly in demand.
Materials: brass Furniture
Whether burnished or lacquered, antique, new and vintage brass furniture can elevate a room.
From traditional spaces that use brass as an accent — by way of brass dining chairs or brass pendant lights — to contemporary rooms that embrace bold brass decor, there are many ways to incorporate the golden-hued metal.
“I find mixed metals to be a very updated approach, as opposed to the old days, when it was all shiny brass of dulled-out silver tones,” says interior designer Drew McGukin. “I especially love working with brass and blackened steel for added warmth and tonality. To me, aged brass is complementary across many design styles and can trend contemporary or traditional when pushed either way.”
He proves his point in a San Francisco entryway, where a Lindsey Adelman light fixture hangs above a limited-edition table and stools by Kelly Wearstler — also an enthusiast of juxtapositions — all providing bronze accents. The walls were hand-painted by artist Caroline Lizarraga and the ombré stair runner is by DMc.
West Coast designer Catherine Kwong chose a sleek brass and lacquered-parchment credenza by Scala Luxury to fit this San Francisco apartment. “The design of this sideboard is reminiscent of work by French modernist Jean Prouvé. The brass font imbues the space with warmth and the round ‘portholes’ provide an arresting geometric element.”
Finding the Right coffee-tables-cocktail-tables for You
As a practical focal point in your living area, antique and vintage coffee tables and cocktail tables are an invaluable addition to any interior.
Low tables that were initially used as tea tables or coffee tables have been around since at least the mid- to late-1800s. Early coffee tables surfaced in Victorian-era England, likely influenced by the use of tea tables in Japanese tea gardens. In the United States, furniture makers worked to introduce low, long tables into their offerings as the popularity of coffee and “coffee breaks” took hold during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
It didn’t take long for coffee tables and cocktail tables to become a design staple and for consumers to recognize their role in entertaining no matter what beverages were being served. Originally, these tables were as simple as they are practical — as high as your sofa and made primarily of wood. In recent years, however, metal, glass and plastics have become popular in coffee tables and cocktail tables, and design hasn’t been restricted to the conventional low profile, either.
Visionary craftspeople such as Paul Evans introduced bold, geometric designs that challenge the traditional idea of what a coffee table can be. The elongated rectangles and wide boxy forms of Evans’s desirable Cityscape coffee table, for example, will meet your needs but undoubtedly prove imposing in your living space.
If you’re shopping for an older coffee table to bring into your home — be it an antique Georgian-style coffee table made of mahogany or walnut with decorative inlays or a classic square mid-century modern piece comprised of rosewood designed by the likes of Ettore Sottsass — there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Both the table itself and what you put on it should align with the overall design of the room, not just by what you think looks fashionable in isolation. According to interior designer Tamara Eaton, the material of your vintage coffee table is something you need to consider. “With a glass coffee table, you also have to think about the surface underneath, like the rug or floor,” she says. “With wood and stone tables, you think about what’s on top.”
Find the perfect centerpiece for any room, no matter what your personal furniture style on 1stDibs. Browse a vast selection of antique, new and vintage coffee table and cocktail tables today.