Main Project Aesthetics – Plans and Alternatives


For my final project, I am going to build a ‘floating’ tensegrity coffee table base. The aesthetics that I am aiming to demonstrate are industrial and minimalist. This will be accomplished by using tube steel / steel cables and sticking to a very straight-forward form. Besides these two, the overall aesthetic revolves around the floating illusion created by the tension based stability of the structure. This weird ‘floating’ aesthetic is meant to make the viewer think for an extra minute about what exactly they are looking at.  More information about the project can be found in previous posts, but here is a new sketch of the current design below.

Current Design


Possible Redesign 1  –  Curvy Base 

For my first idea of a redesign, I though of doing a much more rounded and curvy version of the tensegrity base. Maybe this design would be more welcoming and likable?

In general, I really do not like this design as much. Aside from being much more difficult to manufacture, I do not like the curves aesthetically and I think they distract from the main ‘floaty’ aesthetic that is meant to be the focal point.


Possible Redesign 2  –  Side Hanging

For my second idea of a redesign, I though of moving the opposing tension structure to the sides of the table base, with the general shape being mirrored on either side. This would look interesting and allow for the middle of the base to be completely open .

This design returns to the blocky industrial feel, meaning that it is more manufacturable than the first redesign. That being said, it is a more complex design with more moving parts which need to be perfectly aligned. This raises some new challenges. Again, the more complex form tends to distract from the main ‘floaty’ aesthetic that is meant to be the focal point. Overall, I like this design but it seems a bit too ambitious for my first attempt at a tensegrity base given the time frame.


For now, I am happy with my current design and will proceed with this concept.




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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Hey Erik,

    I really like your project, I’ve seen one of these before in public and it definitely made me think for a while. I think you’re right that the redesigns look significantly more challenging than your idea and I think sticking with what you have is probably best. Maybe after the final is over you can think about redesigning it to make some future advancements.

  • Valerie Welch
    March 21, 2021 6:54 pm

    Hey Erik, this is a really cool idea! It’s pretty confusing just looking at it so I’m impressed you know how to build it! How much weight can this type of table hold? I think your last idea would be cool to pursue if you were making this large enough for people to sit at, so someone’s legs could fit under the empty space in the center. I also understand that this is a much greater task to pursue and does detract from the tension effect, but just a thought!

    • Erik Skooglund
      March 21, 2021 9:59 pm

      Hey Valerie, thanks for the response! The steel cable that I am working with has a breaking strength of 6000 lb, and a safe working load limit of about 1200 lb. I like the idea of using the last design for a larger table to allow for more foot room. I will keep that in mind for the future.


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