May 30th, 2012 _ _
Douglas Coupland’s novel «Generation X» influenced me as a designer even before studying architecture. Not surprising really, he trained as a designer, and accidentally began as a writer, when postcards that he sent to a friend were seen by a magazine publisher.
“Hockey night in Canada” is reminiscent of hockey puck, and the kind of graphic design used for for the television show “Hockey Night in Canada”, a show that Coupland probably grew up with. The stand reminds me of a television tower, a very fifties or sixties look. This table’s roots are in Vancouver which is contemporary with a certain outdoorsieness, a play on archery and fifties pop culture.
The die cut laminates for the tabletop were expensive to manufacture, so it’s production was discontinued although I believe that there is interest in producing it again. As it’s no longer produced it’s probably greatly desired amongst the target fetished, Lambretta driving, original Fred Perry wearing Mods, or have they all become hipsters?
May 28th, 2012 _ _
May 27th, 2012 _ _
I found this transformed water-tank last-year, in the flea market in Saint Ouen, on the northern tip of Paris. It was discovered in a disused factory in the North of France, had it’s steel side cut out, then it was up-turned to create this fantastic riveted table. Yours for a mere €3700. Now that may seem excessive for a “found” object, but when you compare it with vintage, designer tables and one-off pieces, or calculate up all the costs, it is kind of price that they can demand.
May 26th, 2012 _ _
This is perhaps the most French table that I’ve ever seen, political commentary, philosophy, and a touch of the Marie Antoinettes in there somewhere. Perhaps it is the Marie Antoinette element that hints at it’s origin, the bagette table is in fact Austrian. It was first shown at the Vienna Design Week Laboratory, the idea being to illustrate that with imagination that we could manage food in a more efficient way. Fact: all the food waste from Vienna could feed half the people of Graz.
These tables were used for a meal where everything was made of bread, the cutlery the plate and of course the food. This reminds me of the medieval trencher, a bread platter that was put on the table and the food was served on it. When the meal was finished either the trencher was eaten, (a good trencher man), or it was given to the poor.
I notice that most of the bread bagettes are wholemeal, and I’m curious to know if that was an aesthetic, political or structural decision. That kind of thing is best debated over a coffee in a café, something else that’s similar between Paris and Vienna.
VIA Studio Rygalik
May 24th, 2012 _ _
Cyprien Chabert is the kind of creator that I love, a story teller. He works his murals and drawing with a simple black line, to create a world of gardens, nature managed by man. He is an urbanite that is fascinated by how culture interacts with ecology. The story of Easter island and the Birdman cult inspires him as a metaphor for ecological issues that our planet faces. He told me the story while arranging his papers around the Ile de Pâque (Easter Island) table, which he designed by tracing the outline of the island onto old table tennis table, and cutting it out.
Once upon a time Easter island was a lush forest with giant trees, and being such a tiny little island it had a very sensitive ecosystem. Settlers came and gradually the glorious forest was all wiped out. War and famine then distroyed their system of monarchy, which was replaced by the Birdman cult. Every year each of the local tribes had a candidate to be the king, and they each had a young champion, who would compete in an annual an egg hunt, (now doesn’t this just makes the name of Easter island seem all the more appropriate?) Every year the festivities would begin when the black terns flew in to nest on Motu Nui, a nearby island. The young champions would plunge off a treacherous cliff, often cutting themselves, and then either swimming across shark infested waters, or dive bleeding into the waters, to become a shark lunch. If they’d survived as far as the island they would wait for days or weeks, until they wrestled a newly laid egg from under it’s battling defensive mother, then race back to present the unbroken egg to their sponsor. The first candidate to have an egg became the Birdman, a king for a year. And as Cyprien Chabert says, this whole event probably also kept the warrior population under control.
It’s quite tricky to actually play table tennis on this table, like the ecology of a small island, it’s hard to keep the ball in play. Maybe this could be a revolutionary green way to elect new leaders. Diving into killer shark filled waters would present some health and safety issues, (though for some politicians would be a natural habitat). Instead it could be quite up lifting to have presidential candidates fight it out in a table tennis tournament on this highly symbolic table. Think of the paper, the transport, the electricity and all the money used on a traditional campaign that would be saved. This could become a beautiful contemporary ritual for the cult of the ping-pong-men.
May 20th, 2012 _ _
In the event of an earthquake the general advise is to shelter under a table. However, many of the earthquake areas of the world have poor building construction, so chunks of building will be flying around and a table with people below it is easily crushed. Not surprising as it’s primary design purpose is not to resist tons of rubble.
But this table’s primary design purpose is just that, to resist the impact of a building’s collapse and to provide a safe tunnel that will save lives. This is achieved with a crumple zone, (the little orange rods in the corners), that will give-way on impact when they absorb the energy of a ton of rubble, and deflect the rubble from the table zone.
There are two interesting design ideas here that could be adopted elsewhere. 1: Introducing crumple zones into other element of the built environment, perhaps certain corridor zones or bathrooms. 2: Redesigning simple objects that would need to function differently in an emergency situation. Maybe a table design that could be used as boat in a flood?
May 19th, 2012 _ _
In the Museum of Childhood in Powerscourt House just outside Dublin, I recently visited Tara’s Palace, an extraordinary replica 18th century dolls house, built by Irish master craftsmen over 20 years. The dolls house was commissioned by Ron McDonnell of the Irish Antique dealers association, just after the association’s disappointing loss at auction to Lego-land for Titania’s Palace, a similar dolls house, in 1978.
Much of the pieces of furniture are valuable antiques which work in with the twenty two themed rooms that are in keeping with a large Irish 18th century estate house, such as the silver room, the garden room or the nursery. The Ivory room is one of my favourites, where there are tables carved by French Napoleonic prisoners of war, from the bones found in their food.
The Museum of Childhood is run on a benevolent basis to donate to children’s charities. The entry fee is not expensive, it’s free for tiny ones, and they also sell a book about Tara’s Palace so I don’t want to give too much away. When I visited with my children they were in the play area a long time before I was ready to go, so it’s not just for children. There are also the Powerscourt house and gardens to visit, and the Avoca shop and café where I had just as much fun at one of their tables with a fantastic lunch.
May 15th, 2012 _ _
David Amar is an artist and designer who has a storyteller’s approach, with an interest in layering the moments of a table. Here with the David table there is a central basket that hangs hidden below the middle, which is revealed as the table opens up. The fruit seems not just to be a weight that is carried on the table but as a tension force that’s pulling it together and balancing it out, especially when it is open and becomes an ensemble of four smaller interdependent one legged tables. Perhaps this is a deconstruction but I also see it as a poetic reconstruction.
May 12th, 2012 _ _
It’s a great work of balance to create an object that seems so random yet is as evenly structured as Claudia Bignoli’s Paint table. Claudia Bignoli is Milanese architect who has worked on several historic buildings. She has a great interest in what’s going on in the design world and now she concentrates more on furniture design striving for simplicity.
The 150cm diameter MDF tabletop is supported by a fused aluminium base which is unified by seamless paint, (believe me that’s not easy), till it appears to be a dish of floating paint with large glops dripping to the ground.
May 11th, 2012 _ _
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.