Jules Wabbes Large Coffee Table in Wengé
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Jules Wabbes, extra large and custom made coffee table, wengé, steel, brass, Belgium, 1970s
Jules Wabbes designed this custom made large coffee table in the 1970s. The tabletop owns its intricate appearance due to the use of the end-grain wood technique, resulting in rectangular pieces of wood with a pronounced patterned grain. The top rests on a black steel base with brass details. With a length of more than two meters the table has an exceptional size.
Jules Wabbes (1919-1974) was one of the leading Belgian furniture designers and interior architects of the Postwar period. Born in Brussels in 1919, he began his career as an actor. However, after several other professions, he eventually started to become interested in antiques. When Wabbes was 24, he opened an antiques shop where some of the furniture needed restoration. Therefore, he created a small workshop where he taught himself how to restore furniture. Therefore, in contrast to many of his contemporaries, he wasn't trained as a designer or architect but learned the craft of designing furniture by sheer necessity. Alongside restoration, he also started to design furniture. Because of the success of his ventures, it led to Wabbes designing many interiors for his clients. In 1971, Wabbes became professor at the Sint-Lucasinstituut in Brussels. Unfortunately, Wabbes died at an early age in 1974 due to cancer.
Overall, his work is aristocratic and modest, and characterized by a sensual use of materials and a clear, almost architectural tectonics. Wabbes developed a line and idiom of its own, averse to the playful and swinging style of many other furniture designs of the Postwar period. Wabbes, influenced by American designers such as Edward Wormley, chose to build his furniture with solid wood giving his designs not only a luxurious appearance but also honest, timeless and sophisticated aesthetics.
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