What makes a good coffee table?
Like all furniture, tables are made to support our behaviors just as much as they are to support the objects, information and artifacts which are placed on them. The table plane is more than a practical surface, it is a performance surface with capabilities depending on; context, scenario and user needs-action.
Salon or coffee tables is a lifestyle statement that serves for relaxing with the sunday paper or being with guests. They should be interesting objects and fit with the seating group. See Stylepark for a selection of hundreds. They require a relatively spacious room within a seating group. Other use scenarios such as; for eating in the Japanese floor seating style, working from a kneeling stool or as an interactive screen work surface have not become part of our culture’s way of acting. Most salon tables at ±45 cm are too high for a kneeling work surface, too low for standard chair use and are almost never adjustable in height.
Interaction around a table: Because the salon table is a common status object it can have an interesting character to spur: comment, memory and instruct our non-verbal communication by form language and orientation to one another. This happens based unconscious body alinement and interaction with the edges/corners, support structure, surface attraction/repulsion and flow of body movement around the object.
For many people the product quality made visible by pure line and minimum number of parts, by a high polish and expensive materials is of top importance. Top craftsmanship, a certain cleverness executed design principle, social irony in the object are also important selling and ownership criterion. for instance: For many years Röthlisberger makes the «Campfire» table.
with 3 precise CNC machined parts lapping over each other. The glass top is the only option to show off the perfect joinery. The name «Campfire» invokes a kind of cynical romantic label which for me is a forced wit. Does such a styling witticism demonstrate the taste and intelligence of the owner?
«Sticks-Glass» My current development is a 4 legged version of the mutually stabilizing leg construction; It’s goals are to offer; an interesting, easy to make and therefore low cost table structure that the owner can insert their objects, artifacts or experiences into for around Fr. 500.00. The parts are flat transportable and easy to assemble without tools for people under 35.
The model to illustrate the concept uses chopsticks and a Forex panel with the openings cut by hand. My current idea is that the window openings could be filled with stainless steel or black display trays that are filled with objects, 2D reference media, growing stuff or simply collectables of any kind.
But that became the subject of my other new table called «Touch Fields» That you will find in another post.