New tables: From material fetish to the Zen factor
Let’s compare a table with a dog for a moment: Down through the millennia human beings have applied all their creativity to turning something that is very simple into an impressive array of variations. And just as Chihuahuas and Great Danes alike are famously descended from wolves, we have taken a panel with legs and from it created everything from a banquet table to the ledge that attaches to the sofa. Indeed, our creativity as regards tables is far from exhausted, as designers and manufacturers are proving at the Salone del Mobile 2017 in Milan. From mighty large-caliber versions to attention-grabbing lapdogs, they’re all represented.
Frankfurt-based furniture label e15, for example, has exceeded itself with its new “Trunk Table”: The renowned table specialist has created a tabletop from the trunk of a single walnut tree and placed it on a framework made of solid brass. Still a one-off to date, this heavyweight will require strong haulers and advice from your structural engineer should you choose to order it. Similarly unsparing on weigh: Barber Osgerby’s “Aes” for Hermès: The low, black table is cast from bronze. There are also some weighty models, no doubt, in the “Ballerina” table series by refined Japanese aesthete Nendo for Edizioni Marsotto – even if the series appears so light-footed.
With such magnificent one-offs pieces, it might be easy to forget that tables can actually likewise be team players. Hence many manufacturers are arranging their families of chairs around suitable tables. Here it’s not about the grand appearance, but rather the pecking order of the pack. Magis demonstrated this with “Mila” by Jaime Hayon, and Maruni with “T&O” by Jasper Morrison. Under the name “Green Light” Moroso presents a collaboration with Olafur Eliasson, who developed a shelf and a matching table on the basis of a triangular module. And the table equivalent of a Chihuahua? That would probably be the portable side tables that can be placed wherever a surface is needed. They need to be light and small – as with the model “Carmina”, which Ludovica and Roberto Palomba designed for Driade. One of the three little legs curls coquettishly into a loop that serves as the carrying handle. And the best thing about all the long-legged, short-legged, angular or round tables? They come housetrained straight out of the factory.