I love animal tables. Zoomorphism make furniture feel like part of the family rather than just a functional object. Like a pet dog it’s a kind of extension of who you are, only you don’t need to feed it or bring it out for walks. It also makes an excellent alternative to taxidermy which has been having a bit of a moment right now.
Zelouf and Bell constructed the leg of this table like a winding back bone. The ebonized cherry vertebrae are separated by polished aluminium discs. How it all stands up is their secret. This is one of many pieces that Zelouf and Bell have made in black, they even came out with a whole collection just in black recently. There is an old decorating trick, where you put a black object in a room and it makes all the other colours look clearer and cleaner. Black has already become popular in interiors and it looks like a trend that’s not likely to fade.
Of all the Pitt Pollaro collection the Long Table is my favourite, and in my mind the most accomplished. It’s certainly not an easy piece to build or design and I’m guessing that that no metal armature was used in the squiggly mahogany base (I could be wrong), thus taking full advantage of the woodwork skills in Pollaro’s workshop. A stone slab that size is not easy to support at random points without cracking.
The mahogany has a similar aspect to the stone which harmonises the table and the rules generated by the base give it it’s character. The virtual line created half way between the ground and the table-top where the squiggle changes direction, the change of direction when hitting the floor or table -top, always at 3D angles. I Mostly love this table for two reasons, one, because of the tension in it’s shape that is at a balancing point between an etched out solid and free lines coming together, and two, it’s a nice colour.
The steel Collage sofa table, made by Bonaldo, was inspired by a bunch of assorted old mirrors that Alain Gilles saw at a flea market, all separate yet operating together as if they were one larger object. The Collage table is in fact two pieces, one individual coffee table and one group of four atatched together, that are articulated around the higher circular table. To understand how it can move around It’s best to watch the video. My personal favourite version of this ensemble is where there is one table with copper paint, a sort of sophisticated bling.
Originally created for the advertising agency Strawberryfrog in 2006, the Accident table by Tjep has not just the head of the table differentiated, but all the positions around it. The coming together of people is represented as a coming together of tables, (it’s so logical that it’s kind of surprising that it hasn’t been done more often.) The table accident also has the advantage that if you can’t remember someones name after a meeting it’s very easy to describe where they were sitting. The variable geography of this table gives a feeling more of hanging out in a room rather than a formal event where you would be careful not to speak out of turn, which can only help communications which is after all what a meeting is all about.
Erwan Boulloud studied at the reputed Ecole Boulle in Paris, and for the last ten years he has been producing limited series and one off pieces in his workshop in Pantin, to the north of the city. He is fascinated with movement and time, so his work appears to be an evolving situation that was frozen in a moment.
The Grande Graine table shows his skill as a cabinet maker and blacksmith in the one piece. The steel inclusions are constructed like clamps above and below the 12 edged tabletop, that terminate in sort of abstract grains, (grand graine means large seed in french). The use of expressive geometry, with handcrafting in an industrial spirit, harks back to the art deco and the arts and crafts movements in the first part of the last century.
At 230cm by 174cm I’d unfortunately never fit it into my apartment, but I would very much love to see how the eventual owner chooses to set the table for a dinner, the steel bars and changing symmetry are an interesting terrain for the architecture of table-ware.
Zaha Hadid’s office is usually reputed for it’s expression of form, but it has always had a love affair with materials too. I can remember one evening about twenty years ago her partner Patrick Schumacher getting very excited about forming concrete to a sharp point. They knew that it would crumble in places, but there was a desire for the beauty revealed when pushing a material uncharacteristically to its limits, to an extreme, and how that would reveal its intrinsic nature. With this attitude how can one not create the sublime?
The liquid glacial tables are made of acrylic, which reminds me of of the use of resins in model making to represent liquids. The resin can be coloured and manipulated, then it hardens and sets rendering a very realistic effects. When I see this technique used for water in a student’s project, I am so seduced by the water that I need to remind myself to pay attention to the rest of the model.
This table appears to be a pool of water that drains down into columns of water that form the legs, then instantly freezing to ice that retains the movement of the water that can also been seen in it’s shadows. A simple crystal like material forming a sophisticated table ensembles of one or two three legged parts. I do sort of wonder about it’s stability around the single leg end, but then isn’t that where the beauty of it is, pushing the design to an extreme.
I visited “Tools Galerie” at 119 rue Vieille du Temple a few weeks ago to see this table from Frédéric Ruyant‘s series called fractal. I was expecting not to be able to keep my hands off the slick corian, but how wrong was I. A little snow blind from the white surface, I found myself standing well away from it and moving round leaning backward and forwards being fascinated by the different shapes and planes thrown as shadows. I think this table is best suited to indirect lighting or lighting from the side to create more subtle shadows across the surface.
This creative piece is in executed in corian, which has the warmth of wood, the toughness and hygiene of stone and the plastic possibilities of…well plastic. Having designed kitchens with corian I appreciate the considerable workmanship that has gone into this piece with it’s changing planes. The only part that jars a tiny bit for me was the metal bit that fitted around the top of the legs to fix it to the to the table-top. This joint didn’t seem to have quite the same level of design detail or workmanship as the rest. Then again this is something I frequently see in tables, that the bit that you’re not looking at can be less worked out than the rest. This table is after all about geometry not joinery.
I’ve had a lot of fun trying to do seating plans. Nine people in 2/1 /2 / 1 /2 /1 formation, or six people in a 2 /0 /2 /0 /2 /0 formation, or a more radical six in a 2 /1 /1 /0 /2 /0 formation. The last one is quite fun as it could throw conventions up in the air, but it perhaps isn’t respecting the geometry which is quite tight. If this table were mine I think I’d use it as a work table, it’s zone-able and possible to work with another person either together or individually. Most of all there are those three long grooves to stop erasers, pens and pencils rolling away.
Spatial organisation is another great game to play with this table, The multitude of possibilities that it opens up could occupy me for a week and become quite addictive. Unfortunately although it is a fun game it’s not one that many architects will get to play since the table is only produced in a limited edition of 5.
The above photo is of a coffee table by Peter Pierobon a Canadian Sculptor who also creates furniture and beautiful jewelery boxes. He draws a landscape type quality out of materials, by the juxtapositions of forms and textures of the different elements.
Below is dining table is called Mountain table, made of cherry wood and slate it measures 75cm high and 220 by 85cm. Now, I’ll just try and figure out how to customise a table-cloth, will it drop down like snow on the mountain and plains? Or pool like a lake around an island?
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