The dining table has a relatively simple function: to provide ample surface for family and friends to share a meal. It is probably this combination and tension between the prosaic and the poetic that attracts so many different designers and architects to create their own table, resulting in a wide variety of material combinations, colour finishes and forms.
Approaching the dining table as a technical problem can yield surprisingly elegant results: Foster + Partners’ ‘Arc’ for Molteni & C casts a thin shell in fibre-reinforced cement as its base, creating an ideal diagram of compression forces. Egon Eiermann’s height-adjustable ‘Eiermann Table 1’, manufactured by Richard Lampert shows the minimum amount of structural elements needed for a stable steel skeleton. And in the case of Bertjan Pot’s ‘Slim’ dining table for Arco, the wooden table is engineered for archetypical simplicity and seemingly impossible thinness.
Dining-table classics such as Le Corbusier’s and Charlotte Perriand’s Cassina-produced ‘LC6’, Isamu Noguchi’s Vitra-produced ‘Dining table’, which features a round glass table top and a central base of chromed rods, Knoll International’s ‘Saarinen Tulip Table’ designed by Eero Saarinen, which has one aluminium central leg that tapers outwards, or Charles and Ray Eames’s aluminum-base ‘Eames Table’, also by Vitra, still enjoy immense popularity.
A more artistic approach to dining tables is presented by Patrizia Polese’s ‘Hoop’ for Forhouse, where she weaves a basket out of chromed steel to support a glass tabletop. Piero Lisoni’s ‘Naked’ table for Glas Italia is an extendable, fully glass object that almost vanishes from sight.
Fabio Calvi and Paolo Brambilla combine the strong forms of a typical picnic table with a base in polyethylene and aluminium, and a composite wood-and-plastic tabletop in their ‘Banquété’ for Serralunga. And ending on a more whimsical note, Denis Santachiara’s ‘Bellaforza!’ dining table for Gufram features two pairs of metal legs walking in opposite directions, with the glass tabletop suspended between them.