History Lesson: Parsons Table

I was at West Elm the other day and when I saw their Parsons collection it got me thinking about where the name came from. I attended Parsons School of Design in New York, so I wondered if there was any connection. As it turns out the term Parsons comes from the Parsons School of Design in Paris.

Famous French decorator Jean-Michel Frank taught at Parsons in the 1930s and assigned his students the following project: “design a table so basic that it would retain its integrity whether sheathed in gold leaf, mica, parchment, split straw or painted burlap, or even left robustly unvarnished”. Though the table is attributed to Frank, the actual designer is thought to be a school janitor who introduced his design at a student art show. What came out of Frank’s direction was a truly minimalist piece that became a hit in contemporary decor.

Since the 1960′s the Parsons table has been mass-produced, with a broad variety of styles made by everyone from Walmart to Crate & Barrel to Bauhaus designer Mies Van der Rohe. Simple, contemporary and refined!

(via NY Times)

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2 Comments to History Lesson: Parsons Table

  1. September 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the lesson! I’ve always been a little bit fuzzy on where the name came from, but now I know for sure : ) Thank you!

  2. Lara's Gravatar Lara
    September 22, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Me too! I was surprised to find out the origin.

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