Revisiting a Classic: The Platner Dining Table

Revisiting a Classic: The Platner Dining Table

Jess Watson
Nov 23, 2009
Influenced by his work in the offices of legendary designers Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei and Kevin Roche as well as the movement toward a more expressive form of Modernism in the 1960s, Warren Platner designed his sculptural table base made from steel rods in 1966. The table and its collection have been in production by Knoll ever since. Well known for his elegant and refined design sensibility, Warren Platner studied architecture at Cornell, received the Rome Prize in architecture in 1955 and was inducted into Interior Design magazine's Hall of Fame in 1985.

As modernism began to shift in the 1960s, Planter took advantage of the new mindset: "I felt there was room for the kind of decorative, gentle, graceful design that appeared in a period style like Louis XV." Focusing on wire, Platner used the metal as well as space to create his sophisticated Dining Table that resembled a glistening sheaf of wheat. The table construction required nearly 1,000 welds of its metal components and was then finished in a clear lacquer protective coating. The table also had a protective plastic ring extruding from the base to protect floors.

This table looks just as at home in this playful countryside chic dining room
designed by Jonathan Adler for Liz Lange as it does in more modern spaces.

After the success with his collection with Knoll, Platner continued to explore different areas of design. In 1967, he won acclaim for his warm interior design for the otherwise steel, granite and glass building of the Ford Foundation headquarters. More than any of his other projects, his use of "sensuous modernism" to design the interior of the famed Windows on the World restaurant garnered him significant public notice. He continued as an active member of his firm, Platner Associates, until his death at the age of 86 in 2006.

Windows on the World.

The Platner collection, available from Design Within Reach, also includes a side chair, lounge chair and stool and is available finished in either bright nickel or metallic bronze.

(Image credits: 1 - KnollStudio, 2 - Ngoc Minh Ngo / House Beautiful, 3 - Dan Heller /
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