The Eameses chose this shape because it was reminiscent of a surfboard, and its long shape fits perfectly in front of a wide couch.
In 1951, having perfected a manufacturing technique for welding wire-rod bases, Charles and Ray Eames decided to bridge two bases with a dramatically shaped top large enough to hold a variety of items and fit comfortably with a long sofa or several chairs.
They considered many shapes. In the end, did they take their inspiration from the surfboards they doubtless saw frequently, given the commanding view of the Pacific Ocean from their California home and studio? They never said, but people often refer to this piece as the "surfboard table." Whatever you call it, the elliptical table makes it clear that good design never goes out of style.