The challenge: come up with a design for a table for The Wolfsonian’s lobby. The small print: the table design must be based on Thonet’s iconic 214 chair. The Wolfsonian table must accommodate twenty-four Thonet 214 chairs and, in keeping with the chair, have six components, use only a handful of screws, be easily assembled, and be composed of eco-friendly sustainable materials. The end result: The Wolfsonian will build the table and display it in the museum lobby.
“This was the first open call we’ve done for something like this. The designs were all very well conceived and carefully considered,” says Mylinh Trieu Nguyen, The Wolfsonian’s art director. Three finalists were chosen and those designs were presented to the public to vote on the winner—voting could take place either online or in person, in the lobby. Voting is now closed and the results will be announced in August.
Considering that the designers all had the same constraints, the table designs created by the finalists are remarkably varied.
Nick Gelpi’s Bending Table consists of six tables, each a unique organic shape, which can be scattered throughout the lobby space or can fit together into a larger communal table. The tops of the tables are milled from bamboo plywood, while the branched structure and central post of each is ash wood.
Elizabeth Bassuk’s disPLAY Table is conceived as separate café tables that are adjustable in height to allow guests to either sit or stand and can double as pedestals for object display. The tables are made of recycled materials—the round tabletops are cast from lightweight concrete, while the legs are recycled wood.
Omniform’s Table 29 is inspired by both art nouveau and the floor pattern of the museum’s lobby. The individual tables, made of birch plywood, can be combined in different groupings to form larger tables. The designer compares the various combinations to “ensembles like organic cell structures or similar natural growth systems.”
Table 29, Omniform, entry for Six Components & a Handful of Screws
Bending Table, Nick Gelpi, entry for Six Components & a Handful of Screws
disPLAY Table, Elizabeth Bassuk, entry for Six Components & a Handful of Screws