As mentioned in previous posts, I will be building a coffee table base using the principle of tensegrity. Short for ‘tensional integrity’, tensegrity is a structural principle based on suspending isolated rigid bodies within a network of tensile members. This technique, popularized in the mid twentieth century, has found its way into art, bridge design, spacecraft, and even furniture. My design for the table base relies on a very simple usage of the tensegrity principle, but I hope to explore different / more complex designs in the future.
Shown above are two examples of tensegrity designs. On the left is a sculpture called the ‘Needle Tower’, and on the right is a prototyped mobile space robot called the NASA ‘SUPERball’.
For my design, I will primarily be using square tube steel and steel cable. Hopefully, these materials will help me achieve my target aesthetics. I am trying to accomplish a sort of modern industrial feel. I think this will nicely complement and highlight the floaty / trippy aesthetic that will obviously be a focal point.
In the renderings shown above, I have assumed the use of solid walnut for the table top and bottom storage panels. I think this would be a nice combination with the blued steel. However, since I anticipate running out of time to build a whole new table top, I am building the base to fit a top that I made last year which has been lying around. This top was a sort of experiment that I did with two live edge boards of aspen and concrete. I filled the concrete in between the two live edge faces, similar to what a lot of people like to do with resin in ‘river tables’. I also might end up swapping the top out later, but I do think the polished concrete would tie in nicely with the industrial aesthetic.
This is the mostly finished aspen/concrete top that I will most likely end up using with the steel base.
This is an example of raw (unstained) walnut wood, which I would also like to use for the coffee table top if I have time.
Presentation link : https://youtu.be/Hy0BeiZYb3s
- Sentientfurniture.com, sentientfurniture.com/live-edge/dining-tables-with-american-walnut-oak-maple/.
- “Tensegrity.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Mar. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensegrity#:~:text=Tensegrity%2C%20tensional%20integrity%20or%20floating,other%20while%20the%20prestressed%20tensioned.