Architects love to design houses and they would really love to design all the furniture that goes into their creations as well. But they can't...
This small show, called Turning the Tables, at a London studio shows what they can come up with; given the time and inclination. Their brief was to design something quick and quirky, and of necessity, low cost.
Curated by an architect, the exhibition sets the group the enjoyable task of taking a design right through to prototype in a seven week time period. Since there aren't that many galleries and places where this kind of work can be shown, the exhibition was a good incentive as well.
Now that there are so many new machines and digital tools and technologies, it is easier and more affordable than ever to be able to turn out products quickly. It all starts with the drawing on the computer. As the curator notes "Architects have become the makers of 1:1 building fragments and objects - a revolutionary shift, turning them from the visionaries who often lead design processes through the crafts of others to the crafty makers themselves."
So what have we got.
Labour of Wood (note the bent heart shape) wanted to show how a table can be bespoke and also portable. This small table is part of a series of larger ones and benches. However this one was designed so that it would be transportable and qualify as carry-on luggage. It can be put into a bag and shipped, thus not requiring extra packing materials.
This table by Barnaby Gunning was intended to be modular because, in the architect's words, "quite frankly we are not great craftsmen". They wanted to create a design that could be ordered from a laser cutting company over the internet. The offcuts are used to support the legs of the table.
The idea behind this one was to create a table with no left-over waste. They used 2 standard sized sheets of birch plywood and added coasters, allowing it to be moved easily. It uses the stressed-skin principle, used in construction of airplane wings. The lack of legs gives more legroom and flexibility.
The lovely Tree of Dining is conceived from actual tree trunks: customers will be able to walk through the forest and pick the parts of the trees (knees, boughs, branches) that they want to be used as part of their table. The kind of tree will determine the colour and texture of the creation.
The design and manufacturing of the Nurbster II (top photo) are completely computerized. The individual pieces are all cut by CAD operated machines and it is held together by a complex interlocking joint system.
Embrace (second photo) is an alternative to the traditional round table. The two interesting shapes can be combined to make a larger table.