Jules Wabbes 'Tonneau' Conference Table in Solid Wenge and Metal
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Jules Wabbes, 'tonneau' conference or dining table, wengé, metal, Belgium, 1960s
The model 'Tonneau', that translates as 'barrel' features a solid wengé wooden top, made out of tangentially-sawn slats. Therefore, it features a wonderful pattern on the top. The geometric chromed base compliments this material and construction based approach perfectly. The construction and joints are visible and the desk has a clear constructive composition. Nothing is hidden, everything can and should be seen.
Jules Wabbes (1919-1974) was a Belgian furniture designer, architect and professor. He wasn't (as many of his contemporaries) trained as a designer or architect but learned the craft of designer furniture by sheer necessity. When Wabbes was 24, he opened an antiques shop where some of the furniture was in need of restoration. Therefore, he opened a small workshop where he taught himself how to restore furniture. Alongside restoration he also started to design furniture. 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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