Turntable Coffee Table
2015 VMODERN Furniture Design Competition
Steven Haardt, Roy Oei
United States, Hong Kong
The Turntable Coffee Table design is conceived as a re-interpretation of what is considered the first coffee table designed by Edward William Godwin. By maintaining the main functional concept; i.e., a utilitarian tabletop, the Turntable transforms the practical components into something iconic. By altering the positioning of the legs inward on one side forming a triangle and fusing them together on the opposite side creating a rectangle an asymmetrical relationship of the structural elements is produced. The journey between these two opposing geometries is shaped by a series of unique ribs. When these individual parts are laminated together, they form a self-supporting structural shell. The lamination of the ribs begins to pull apart at the center revealing the assembly of the table to the user. Transitioning from a rectangular to a triangular shape not only recreates some of the geometries in the Godwin table but also carves a space for a person’s legs and feet to comfortably rest while sitting adjacent to the table. The hollow inner volume sculpted as a result of this evolution allows for the storage of books and magazines within this void.
The seamless form was achieved using Rhino modeling software. A series of modified rectangular and triangular geometries were explored in the computer and in a variety of physical paper models in order to achieve a self-standing table. A final scaled massing prototype was 3D printed out of plaster with the addition of a liquid hardener applied during the curing process. The coffee table is strong enough to sit on and its weight distribution is balanced making it resistant to tipping.
The full-scale coffee table is constructed of a series of half inch laminated Baltic Birch wood ribs cut on a CNC 3D router. Each rib is composed on a plywood sheet in a specific manner to maximize the amount cut at once while reducing the amount of waste per plywood sheet. The Baltic birch material is comprised of an attractive vertical grain that runs lengthwise throughout the sheet. The inner plies have alternating horizontal or vertical grain, which provides increased strength and resistance to warping or moisture damage while adding texture to the surfaces of the table. Another reason for using Baltic birch is its uniform grain, which gives it a natural finish with little sanding and staining. Acrylic inserts of various thicknesses are inserted in between the plywood laminations and are held in place by a series of stainless steel rods. These rods also assist in connecting the wood laminations.
The Turntable is a contemporary conversion of a traditional coffee table. It is distinctive enough to be used as a centerpiece and functional enough for everyday use.