There’s no part in [a motorcycle], no shape in [a motorcycle], that is not out of someone’s mind… a person who does machining or foundry work or forge work or welding sees “steel” as having no shape at all. Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.
– Robert M. Pirsig (from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
One of the questions I am frequently asked is how I come up with original designs. Although I do study existing designs, when I want to create a design that I can call my own I start at the very beginning – with the purpose.
Take, for example, a table. If the purpose of a table is to support items at a convenient height, the requirements are to provide an adequate amount of support for the items, elevated to an appropriate height.
One of the most common forms has four legs, aprons, and a top – as seen here in my Table with a Twist.
Table with a Twist by Chris Wong
Why are tables built this way? Do tables need to have four legs, four aprons and a table top? Of course not. This combination of parts is simply one solution that meets the requirements of a table.
There are other solutions, and once you open your mind to the idea that you are not limited to the usual, or even existing forms you can start designing any sort of table.
Here are a couple interesting table designs.
Brian VanVreede’s Cantilevered Coffee Table features a daring, curvaceous base.
Cantilevered Coffee Table by Brian VanVreede
Sculpted Ash Table, which I built, is comprised of a sculpted table top half-lapped into an upright, which is bolted to an over-sized foot.
Sculpted Ash Table by Chris Wong
Paul-Marcel St. Onge’s Tim Burton Table… well…
Tim Burton Table by Paul-Marcel St. Onge
Find more interesting designs on my Pinterest board.