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An Adaptable Table for the Average, Ever-Changing Life
I’m very familiar with the moving process (and its associated woes). Within the last 13 years, I’ve moved seven times thanks to the Recession, empty nest syndrome, and the volatile living situation of college. The first move was the hardest transition: going from a five thousand square foot home to one not even a third of that size, my family had to adapt to constraints. However, how could we with furniture that couldn’t shrink nor change? In the new house, the sunroom became my mom’s bedroom not because she enjoyed the lack of privacy but because that was the only room that would accept her king-sized bed. Furniture took a team to move and, once placed, overshadowed the small rooms. As such when I was tasked with creating a coffee table for studio, I considered its life and how its context might shift and change.
I began this studio project by collecting and discerning data regarding the moving industry and generated household waste. As suspected, moving rates are highest in the younger population and decrease as age increases and renters are transitioning into owners. I interviewed various individuals and in the process, developed three personas that would guide the creation of my coffee table.
With our high mobility lifestyle, society’s no longer clinging to passed-down furniture, instead, favoring low-cost dispensable furniture that can be discarded given a beneficial move. This change in disposition is why we are now considered the “Ikea generation.”
My coffee table stands as this shift’s rebuttal. By incorporating magnetic biscuits as the mechanism that aggregates the individual tables together, the possible permutations are endless. If a few tables aren't enough, one can always buy more clusters to create bigger and more diverse table shapes, and if at some point, one feels like downsizing, he or she can pass along clusters to family or friends. In this way, my design creates a cycle that follows one throughout life.
Coffee Table Lifespan
To alleviate furniture waste caused by relocation, my design must be lightweight, compact yet able to expand. The design evolved into a coffee table that stacks in groups of six and pulls apart. A single table’s height comes in at 18” (the average coffee table height); when fully stacked, the cluster of tables’ height swells to 24” making it ideal for an end table.
Exploded Construction Axon
No studio has challenged me nor given me as much joy on completion as this studio. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was terrified of the woodshop. The machines were beasts that could bite off a finger if stroked incorrectly. However, I chose this studio to tame said beasts and combat my fear.
Because of how angular my coffee table was, a great deal of planning, preparation, and geometry was required before I could even enter the woodshop. By constructing jigs to produce the desired angles, I was able to transform a 4x4 post into legs and connecting pieces. With each cut, I became more and more comfortable in the woodshop, so much so that it’s now my strutting ground and the machines my loveable pets.