Evolution of an Idea

Getting the opportunity to revisit an old design is a gift. This commission started with a request for a version of a coffee table I created in 2014. As I studied my previous design, I could see areas within the base that would be interested in thinning down and pushing the sense of movement in the base a little further and giving the floating top an additional lightness.

The top relies on the use of the butterfly key as a joinery element. I went to the lumber yard thinking of a top that would incorporate two shapes nestled together, but ultimately nature is the final designer. At the lumber yard, there was a huge black walnut tree that had been recently put on the warehouse floor for sale. It was almost large enough to meet the size requirement of the table in one piece and my idea for what the top would look like began to take shape in my head as I sorted through the slabs of lumber that made up the tree stacked on the floor. I began to see where the edge of the board would fall in the living room or the client and set out to find the right piece to complete my vision.

The structure of the base came together as a sculpture, with each piece being worked and then reshaped until it felt right. The table is finished with a wiping varnish.