Tables have been with us for a long time. When I was a young man in Berkeley, before I ever thought of making furniture for a living, I moved into a house where there were woodworking tools in the basement. Having no furniture at all, I rounded up some scraps and made myself something that seemed both easy to make and eminently useful: a table. My girlfriend was impressed.

But after forty years I have more respect for tables. They are a challenge to design because they are meant to be seen from all sides, so there are always sculptural possibilities. There are a lot of ways to support a surface. An open space underneath highlights the structure visually, but this openness subjects the support structure to considerable stresses , so the design process needs to meet those stresses while carving up the visual bulk of the piece in an interesting way.

Recent tables range from the slab and pipe construction of Bridge on Fire to the Finelines series, where graphic detailing in the top is combined with a base reminiscent of George Nakashima. My girlfriend says she is still impressed.


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