Turning the Tables: A Dozen Transformers that Grow, Shrink, Rise and Disappear

Transformer tables campaign table photo

We recently covered 7 Ways to Get Rid of the Bed, and previously rounded up 7 Objects That Aren't What They Seem. It's part of our continuing fascination with transformer furniture that can serve different functions at different times, or just disappear when you don't need it.

Tables are among the oldest known transformers; in the medieval times the tables were brought out for meals, set on trestles and removed afterwards. According to Siegfried Gideon, this is the origin of phrases like "clear the hall" and "turn the tables."

The British army travelled in style with campaign furniture that folded up quickly; New York designer Richard Wrightman does modern interpretations of it. Richard Wrightman: Campaign Furniture Updated

Transformer tables vintage table photo

In the twentieth century designers played with extension tables, drop leaf tables, even designs like this "pinwheel of fun; separately, they combine to build snaky side tables, nesting end tables, or up to six separate (but matching) tables that could be scattered about for a party and then joined up again for a glass of wine in front of the TV." Variety is the Spice of Life: Six Part Vintage Coffee Table

Transformer tables expandable table photo

Expandible tables that grow to accommodate the number of guests have been around forever, but usually they get longer, not wider...Expandable Dining Table Flexes For Your Pleasure

Transformer tables braun circular table photo

And round tables present a particularly interesting challenge, met here by the Braun Woodline Expanding Table

Transformer tables fletcher round table photo

D. B. Fletcher's extraordinary invention is "a circular table which, when rotated at its outer perimeter, doubles its seating capacity, yet astonishingly remains truly circular. The expansion leaves are stored within the table and, in just four seconds, smoothly and quickly emerge upon rotation, rising and radially expanding outwards as the entire top is turned through 30˚. Existing tables can seat six persons when small, and twelve or more when expanded." DB Fletcher's Expanding Tables

Transformer tables extremis round table photo

With a name like Extremis Gargantua, it sounds like it could be in a Transformer movie rather than a piece of transformer furniture, but that's what they call this table designed in 1994 by Dick Wynants. Extremis Gargantua

Transformer tables Daniel So Flipp table photo

Daniel So updates the traditional drop leaf table (and solves the problem of where to put the leaves) in his interesting design. "The Flipp Table has been derived from spatial issues which arise in confined apartments and housing. When closed, the table is designed to seat two; the aesthetics are developed to blend softly yet elegantly into its surroundings. However when the table is flipped opened to seat four, it reveals its inner beauty and transforms into a vibrant centre piece that can convert a dull living space into a vivacious environment." Flipp Table by Daniel So

Next: Folding Tables

Related Content on Treehugger.com