Ralph Rapson Design: The Slatted Coffee Table

[photo credit: Larry Weinberg]

Fellow modernist enthusiast and collector, Larry Weinberg of Weinberg Furniture, recently contacted us about a piece in his collection that he believed to have been one of Ralph Rapson’s designs. He acquired this slatted wooden bench with a metal base from an associate in the Boston area in the mid-1990s. The table was purchased from its original owner, who remembered buying it in the early 1950s from the Rapson-Inc store near Copley Square in Boston. Rapson designed his own advertisements for the store and the slatted table appears in the sketch for a summer advertisement entitled ‘Summer Suggestions’.

[photo credit: Rapson Architects]

Ralph often designed furniture for his store, which he sold alongside the other modernist mass-produced pieces like the Herman Miller bench and the Saarinen Womb Chair. Many of Ralph’s designs were one of a kind, which may be the case with this table Weinberg acquired. Ralph’s son Toby, owner of Rapson Architects, has a similar table that has been in the family since the 1950s. It has  the same base with a butcher block top with slats running lengthwise as opposed to the short  width-running wide planks on Weinberg’s table. Though Rapson was busy teaching architecture courses at MIT at that time, Rapson-Inc worked as a showroom for his continual exploration into modern furniture forms. 

Caroline Engel for Rapson-Inc.


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