A wonderful vintage Ercol elm and beech coffee table. This mid-century table has an attractive and practical magazine rack beneath its top and is a really beautiful retro piece. The model 454 semi-oval table was designed by Lucian Ercolani for Ercol.
In 1889, Italian-born Lucian Ercolani (1888-1976) immigrated with his parents to England, settling in East London. His father—who constructed picture frames for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and took up work as a carpenter for the Salvation Army in London—urged Ercolani to follow in his footsteps. Ercolani studied drawing and design at the Shoreditch Technical Institute, before sitting the City & Guild exams in the theory and construction of furniture. In 1907, he made his first piece of furniture, a musical cabinet. At school he met Ted Gomme, the man who would later co-found G-Plan, and with whom he developed a lifelong friendship which outlived their working relationship, which lasted until 1920.
Like many British firms, Ercol supported the war effort, producing over 25,000 tent pegs a day, while both of Lucian’s sons, who worked in the family business, fought in the war. In 1944, Ercol was offered a huge contract to supply the Board of Trade with 100,000 low cost Windsor chairs. Ercol had uncovered a new way of utilizing elm, a natural resource in the High Wycombe forest that had been neglected as a timber due to its unruly and brittle nature. Using a special technique and new machinery, Ercol was able to manipulate the elm into a beautiful product. The process began with natural seasoning—drying the wood for one to two years outside—followed by kilning—steaming the wood in a large, enclosed room. In 1947, the first pieces from their Windsor Collection were available for purchase—which Ercol exhibited the year previously at the Britain Can Make It exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Ercol’s collection of mass-produced furniture found a ready-made market in post-war Britain, which demanded smaller pieces with simpler lines than their more bulky pre-war counterparts.
L99 x D84 x H45cm