In the process of making a side table I realise side tables are one of the categories of design where functionality might not be the most important factor anymore. The functionality of holding a ‘coffee table book’ and an occasional coffee or tea cup doesn’t really justify the money spent, nor the time and energy invested.
It has rather become an aesthetic element for people, to add warmth or personal identity to an interior by adding something that is not strictly utilitarian. For designers, this has made it an object of experimentation, in which material and form can be explored.
Here are a few tables & side tables that hold form and experimentation over functionality (although they are still functional). Many of them are in the collection of Fumi Gallery London.
Glithero, Running mould tables
These tables are hardly real tables. They are rather structures to showcase a material experiment. But by making them into a table, by calling them a table, they have gained interest. Rather than just being an experiment they are invited into the realm of real objects and they are permitted an existence by the makers.
Thomas Lemut, Desk Jel
Thomas Lemut is very open about letting aesthetics prevail over functionality. Some of his work might lack a certain strength because of it; I think it feels like something purely made to please the eye, but the experiment with material and pattern is very interesting.
Glithero, Les French Desk
This table is, according to Glithero, an ode to the sketch. But what appears to be rods of wood or bamboo tied together is actually a lost wax cast bronze structure to support the top.
Piet Hein Eek, sloophout coffee table
Each table has a unique pattern created with old reclaimed painted wood, assembled in intricate patchwork patterns and shades.
Study O Portable, Fuzz Side Table
“A side table made with layering pigmented acrylic resin on a rotating spit and then the ends are sliced off and polished. It’s a development of our previous work, Fuzz. Consisting of 120 layers and weighing about 90kg, it’s 45cm high and approx. 36cm wide.”