Just like Edna Turnblatt, the Saarinen Pedestal Table is TIMELESS to me. Probably perfection in design, the table is suitable anywhere from a country house kitchen to a big city conference room (and is frequently seen in both!).
The table was designed by Eero Saarinen (son of the prominent city planner, Eliel) who moved to the U.S. in 1923 from Finland as a teenager. Later he began his studies at Yale but ended up at the fascinating Cranbrook Academy in Bloomfield Hills, MI where his father was the resident architect. If you don't know anything about Cranbrook, study up - it probably is the birthplace of classic modern design in the U.S.
In the late 1940's Saarinen worked for THE Herman Miller creating many of the most timeless ( there's that word again! ) designs the company still produces and that are so popular today!
Many people pair the Pedestal table with his Tulip chairs -but I really dislike those tulip chairs -they look really spacey, uncomfortable and inelegant and just......nasty. I prefer the Pedestal table with some really beautiful antique chairs such as klismos chairs or the Wishbone Chair by Hans Wegner- something to counteract the coldness of the table; something more TACTILE.
The table is available in a few different styles, white marble, black marble, laminate, even wood tops and generally white or black bases -although I have seen some aluminum / stainless steel versions as well. White marble with a white base is the CLASSIC version though.
I do love the fact that it is round. The best dining tables are always round in my opinion -they make for the most interesting dinner parties and are the most useful while not in use for dining.Ikea makes a great knockoff if you can't afford the real thing - but it is a bit cheap and you really can tell the difference quality wise ( I know becaue I owned one for 2 years until recently! ). You can see the Ikea version of it here on the lefthand side of this picture. I was saving up for a vintage saarinen table from ebay but came across a beautiful antique Palladian table and chairs from Baker that I coudn't pass up. You can see that here. As you can see-it is a VAST improvement over what I had! Thanks to http://www.dwr.com/ for the history lesson and photos!