Cafeteria tables

Cafeteria tables are small tables used in restaurants, coffeehouses and canteens that seat a few people at a time, though they can often be joined to seat a larger company.

A typical example of a cafeteria table is Charles and Ray Eames’s 1950, round or square ‘Contract table’ with a laminate top and a 4-star, cast aluminium base, now manufactured by Vitra. This model is suited to both indoor and outdoor use. Another cafeteria table, wholly suitable for outdoor use is Foster + Partners’ ‘ 20-06™ Square café table’ for emeco, which also features a 4-star base and tabletop made from aluminium, but has a rough, brushed surface treatment.

Finnish modernist architect, Alvar Aalto, uses laminated birchwood for his friendly, round, 1935 ‘Table 90B, produced to this day by Artek. Lorenz*Kaz’s ‘Fizz table’ by Bedont is a round, slightly more playful, wooden cafeteria table with three legs and asymmetrical bracing between them. Rud Thygesen’s and Johnny Sørensen’s modular ‘2000-Serie’ for Magnus Olesen combines wood with a linoleum top surfaces and consists of square and semicircular tables that can either stand on their own or be joined to form larger cafeteria tables.

AquiliAlberg’s ‘Milo’ cafeteria table for Serralunga is a curved, convex sculpture made of plastic, making it an ideal outdoor furnishing. A translucent, internally illuminated version is also available. Alexander Seifried’s ‘Flip table’ for Richard Lampert is a foldable cafeteria table with a slim, elegant x-base, ideal as seasonal outdoor seating. Another steel cafeteria table, although not foldable, is Chris Martin’s ‘Tio Circular Café Table Metal’ for Massproductions. It features an expressive tubular steel skeleton, is available in eight colours, and its tabletop can be also made out of marble or laminate.

Philippe Starck and Eugeni Quitllet combine an aluminium base with a transparent plastic leg, and a choice of either a round or a square top in their 2006 ‘Top Top’ cafeteria table for Kartell. On the other hand, Jean Nouvel’s ‘Mia | 417’ cafeteria table for EMU Group is a wholly angular, sober design, made out of steel prisms, united in one of four available colours.

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