A round, shiny black table with two levels, detailed with ivory-colored plastic.

Occasional Table

Designed 1929-30, reproduced 2022

Joseph Urban (American, b. Austria, 1872-1933), designer
Terry Moore (American, b. Wales, b. 1952), maker of reproduction
Mark Adams (American, b. 1950), maker of urethane inlay and embellishments

ebonized cherry and urethane plastic

In his designs for this occasional table and the dressing table and desk (not included in this installation), Urban drew inspiration from the designs of Frenchman Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann. Ruhlmann was a leading exponent of the art moderne style, later known as Art Deco. His sleek designs in exotic, luxury materials such as mahogany and ivory often incorporated neoclassical elements and proportions.

A small rectangular table made with shimmering dark wood and detailed with ivory and white silk tassels.
“Fuseaux” Cabinet, circa 1925, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann (French, 1879-1933), Macassar ebony, ivory, silk and silvered bronze, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1925

Urban’s Ruhlmann-esque occasional table was crafted from more affordable, modern products: lacquered pine and Pyralin (an early plastic tinted to mimic ivory). Urban’s experimentation with and mix of various modernist forms, sources, and materials demonstrate his continued push to combine the best expressions of the modern style and persuade the public how livable, relatable, and approachable modern interiors could be. Urban’s design for the Wormser occasional table relates to other designs created for his 1928 interior titled “Repose” and for set for the film Doctors’ Wives (1931).