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Professional interior designers working in modern styles were among the first to seize upon the coffee table as the centerpiece for a room. The circular glass and chrome table seen here, for example, was purchased by a stylish Chicago couple after they saw a similar example in the House of Tomorrow exhibit at the Century of Progress Exposition in 1934. Architects and designers created interiors for small middle-class houses with multi-functional rooms connected to one another in an open, flowing layout. The coffee table sat so low to the floor that it almost slipped out of view, emphasizing the long, open vista of a modern living-dining room. The transparent glass surface on this example further reduced its visual presence and made a small room appear less cluttered. Its reflective chrome-plate and glass complemented the sleek geometric forms of other popular Art Deco-style items.

Art Deco Coffee Table