GOING WITH THE GRAIN: design an object using sustainable wood

Competition Details

391-Ply Tabletop

by Patrick Delahoy

The table celebrates the unique striation of plywood by creating a full surface solely from the material’s stacked plies. A series of 23 units are tightly held together to create a 23” x 60” plane 17” above the ground. Joints connecting the table’s legs to its surface prevent movement in two directions; bar units then sandwich these in place to prevent movement in the third direction. Two cross pieces tie the bars together and the whole system is locked in place by special end bars. One person can assemble or disassemble the table from scratch in several minutes.

Only seven types of pieces are needed to construct the table from a 4’ x 8’ plywood block. In this instance, digital production does not provide the advantage of endless variation of pieces but rather complexity of detail and curvature within each piece. The table is designed to maximize the number of elements cut from the 4’ x 8’ block, reducing waste.

Glue or special connectors are not needed. The pieces are few enough in type that the object can be built without the need for labeling or text on the assembly diagram. This principle would simplify mass- production for an international market. An extension kit with new cross pieces and additional bar units would allow the surface to widen or become square in proportion.