Tensegrity Table with Floating and Balance Aesthetic

My upcycle project idea is to create a tensegrity table using some cheap cord from Mcguckins and scrap wood in the Makerspace in the Idea Forge on campus. A tensegrity table has been something I have wanted to make for a few years now but never had the proper motivation. A tensegrity table consists of a two-part table with the upper half being suspended above the bottom only using tensional forces alone.  This seems counter-intuitive since how do you separate and hold something above you with only string? As you can see from the photos within this post, it can not only be done, but creates a table that looks like an art piece. Normally, these tables use one string in the very center of the piece to hold the upper deck up, and multiple strings around the perimeter to ensure stability. By using strings, you can create the aesthetic of the table floating above the platform without attachments. This aesthetic can be seen in renders of futuristic cities with floating cars, buildings, and platforms, as well as things like magnetic sculptures using magnetism to literally suspend something in the air.

Tensegrity table principles can also be used for simple sculptures like the one below. They always utilize tension to balance the forces on multiple part frames of a piece and show a kind of peaceful balance like that seen in the rock balancing sculptures often seen within waterways like Boulder Creek. I’m not completely sure of the final form of my upcycle project, but I have several ideas stemming from these photos and look forward to gathering materials to see what options I will have.

The term “tensegrity” was coined by the man Buckminster Fuller, an architect, engineer, and poet who wished to produce something stable with only tensional forces holding it together. He and one of his students went on to create several simplistic tensegrity structures which have been adapted by many following their lead. Tensegrity has been utilized for both practical purposes such as tables and chairs, as well as artistic purposes in the form of sculptures like the one shown below.

Works Cited:

Unique floating Driftwood Tensegrity table: Floating table, woodworking projects, DIY Wood Projects Furniture. Pinterest. (2020, August 15). Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/533254412135847955/

AliExpress – online shopping for popular electronics, fashion, home … (2022, December 22). Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://sale.aliexpress.com/

de Roubaix, S. (2022, December 28). Wood Art Projects. Pinterest. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/12807180184004420/

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Elvin Chateauvert
    February 12, 2023 1:40 pm

    I really love this aesthetic, it’s great to see someone attempt it in this class! Tensegrity is such an interesting branch of engineering that happens to be an aesthetic as well. Steve Mould has a pretty good youtube video explaining the concept and there is another youtuber Robby Cuthbert Design which makes some fantastic and complex examples of it. Great project and I am excited to see what becomes of it.

  • This is super cool, I’ve never come across one of these tables. It would also be cool to see some sort of metal cabling in tension, or make it absurd by using a super thin super strong wire so it looks really interesting. Nice find and idea!


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