The Ordered Chaos Dining Table is an attempt to merge the everyday with the uncommon. I had designed a sculptural form and wanted to study its interactions with light. I wanted a unique piece with which I could experiment with many forms of light and shadow and various photographic techniques. At the same time, I wanted a more unique and artistic dinner table. Somehow, these two design requirements started to move closer until it began to seem like they were paired from the start.
“Ordered Chaos Dining Table”
wenge, maple, acrylic and glass
I started with the set of sketches based on my sculpture, and the initial dining table designs. I could not make a realistic enough model of the sculpture, so I moved both designs into Google Sketchup. The table and sculptural forms were very receptive of each other, so figuring out my joinery was very easy. Selecting a material for the sculpture was a bit tougher, since it had to hold up to two sheets of very heavy glass.
I chose wenge and curly maple, feeling that they would balance the red acrylic very nicely.
The sculptural medium proved to be temperamental. Acrylic is strong, but it chipped, cracked and scratched easily under the waterjet. Consequently, each cut piece had to be hand-washed, sanded, scrubbed, glossed, and polished. Also, I was never sure how I would weave the pieces together, with my mental simulations of the joinery all ending in failure. I was never certain it could work until I’d seen it joined in the workshop.
Finishing was another issue. I’d learned some bitter lessons during the construction of The Zen Garden Coffee Table. The maple frame had to be fully finished before assembly began. This made for some tense moments as I coaxed delicate acrylic into finished wood and then assembled a table around it all.
I’m quite pleased with this table. I find myself wondering, however, if I could have done more to make this piece lighter. Weight will be a foremost concern on future projects.