In the next few months, we can expect a flurry of Obama Administration retrospectives—what it was like to work in the Obama White House; who met with the president; what the administration achieved. But I’d bet one thousand dollars that one vital member of the team, one who has been there through it all, will be ignored: Obama’s odd Oval Office coffee table.
The modern table, designed by Roman Thomas, is actually made of mica, but looks like it could be made of newspaper clippings, or fabric patchwork. It is droll and squat and makes absolutely no sense. Sometimes it has a bowl of apples on it, and sometimes it doesn’t. It looks like it could be in the outdoor section of a Home Depot, or like a wallpaper option in the Sims. It is always around, even when we’d prefer it replace itself with something wooden or glass. It has met every world dignitary, without bragging to his family or the press. After Obama leaves office, it will be replaced by something gold and terrible, and will never be honored. This is so sad.
Let’s all raise a glass to this odd, infinity-edge hunk of stone—it has the patience of a saint and the sturdiness of a sailor, and it has never gotten the recognition it deserves.