Table It: How Ordinary Every Day Items Can Enthuse Creation

Where do you get your inspiration from? It’s a question that tends to pop up in an interview with creatives and designers. And for good reason. In today’s world, there is very little room for original thought. More often than not, the idea you have has been had by thousands before you and probably thousand more after you will too. Yet, designers and creatives still find ways to surprise, shock or inspire; even with the most mundane items. A good example is the interpretation and perspective of the table.

There are many ways to perceive and interpret the ordinary.

Often, you really don’t think about it. It’s like the way your brain ignores your nose even though you’re constantly seeing it. But you use a table every day; You’re probably using one now. Simply defined, it’s a flat surface with legs that you put stuff on. However, these designers took them to the next level:


Ease of transportation and assembly

Tebur, which is table in Hausa, was created by product designer from Nigeria, Nifemi Marcus-Bello. This light-weight work is convenient for both home and office spaces, it’s been designed to be portable, giving the user the ability carry it around like a suitcase. Plus, it doesn’t require any assembly tools. The four legs easily screw on and off.

[Image: Courtesy of Nifemi Marcus-Bello]

[Image: Courtesy of Nifemi Marcus-Bello]


The Biovessel

Sustainable Living

With the mission of providing eco-solutions in urban spaces, the Taiwanese bio lab – Bionicraft – created this odourless compost device. The Biovessel wants to solve the food waste problem the world currently faces by mimicking mother nature right at your dinner table. It’s estimated that we annually waste half of all food production, that’s approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food. This three-holed sculpture is said to breakdown from 500 grams to one kilogram of wasted food per week. And it can be used to grow plants too.

[Image: Plugin Magazine]

[Image: Plugin Magazine]


ZEF (Zero Energy Furniture) Climatic Table

Cut energy costs

We all could use lower light bills and that’s what motivated French engineer Raphaël Ménard and Industrial designer Jean-Sébastien Lagrange turned the everyday table into a temperature control device for the home. Also, known as the thermal sponge table, this solid oak and anodized aluminium creation is said to save up to 60 per cent by regulating room temperature without electricity. Instead it’s Phase Change Material (PCM) wax  absorbs excess heat when temps go higher than 22 degrees Celsius and releases it when the temperature drops below 22 degrees.

Thermal Sponge Table [Image: Business Insider]

Thermal Sponge Table [Image: Design Indaba]


NEW OLD Exchange by Special Projects

Bridge the gap between generations

We are all going to get old, yet ironically there are strong stereotypes and stigmas surrounding ageing. Thus in January 2017, design and innovation consultancy – Special Projects – decided to set up an exhibition at Design Museum in the UK to show people they can live fully rewarding lives as they get older. By constructing a custom-built table with a giant paper sheet as its surface, the design encouraged younger people to spend time with older people and learn about ageing. Participants would write down their questions which would be answered by a team of 70-year olds. These questions will be kept as a record of questions between generations.

[Image: Dezeen]

[Image: Dezeen]


Sati Tala

Built to encourage mindfulness

Tired of dining with someone who is constantly on their phone? Israeli designers Sagie Grunhaus and Tany Jarus created a table that would hopefully bridge the communication gap social media and technology has created. Their solution is an eating service that challenges the couple to be more aware, intimate and mindful during their meals. Sati Tala, which means ‘mindful surface’ in an ancient Buddhist language, works by balances on the couple; using their laps as rests and physically connecting them.  And to ensure comfort, both the stools and the table have cushion pillows magnetically attached to them to keep them perfectly in place.

[Image: Esprit Design]

[Image: Esprit Design]


Liquid Light Design

To create functional pieces of art

If using glass, acrylic and Perspex wasn’t interesting enough, they throw some lighting into their ultra-modern furniture. Based in Cape Town, their range of pieces are crafted via 3D-modelling software. They also invite bespoke and unique design commissions too. The tables, such as the Arc dinning able, Ripple server tale and the Origami Coffee table, are all rechargeable and come with a removable power cable to recharge them. They should last between 5 to 72 hours, depending on the brightness level you set in and you can control the lighting via it’s on/off and LED dimmer switches.

Ripple Table [Image: Courtesy of Liquid Light Design]

Arc Table [Image: Courtesy of Liquid Light Design]


Nandini Coffee Table

To promote and celebrate culture

Created by South African interior designer – Siyanda Mbele – this coffee table is adorned with Ndebele patterns commonly found in Ndebele architecture. The zig-ag style that has been boldly referenced in the table were inspired by international acclaimed Ndebele artist, Esther Mahlangu, ‘istegetsane’ style. And it goes further than just the colours, as the geometric Ndebele patterns can be seen in the table’s shape and form.

[Image: Courtesy of Njabulo Magubane]

[Image: Courtesy of Njabulo Magubane]


Full Grown Tables

Reduce deforestation

Full Grown takes an interesting approach to furniture. Instead of cutting down trees to make the final piece, they instead grow the streets in the shape of the furniture. Co-founder Gavin Munro, designs specific shapes which he uses to guide branches to knit themselves together in a way that they can’t break loose.

[Image: Courtesy of Full Grown]

[Image: Courtesy of Full Grown]


Once the piece is complete, it’s cut down, dried and finished, resulting in a solid piece. It’s a practice that requires some patience, with pieces taking on average six years to be ready for harvesting. Pre-orders for chairs currently in growth are already sold out and the pre-order waiting list is up to 2023. They already released six editions of their furniture and are working on a 50-year plan to supply the global demand.

[Image: Courtesy of Full Grown]

This post only covers table but imagine the extent of creativity when you look at the entire décor industry? It’s a good reminder that just because it must fulfil a function, it shouldn’t compromise on the finesse and pizazz. There are many ways to perceive and interpret the ordinary. Let this be a reminder that with your next creation be encouraged to think outside the status quo and shake things up!

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