Designed by Andrew Maynard.
Made and available to order.
"... I like an Arch"
“To express is to drive. And when you want to give something presence, you have to consult nature. And there is where Design comes in.
If you think of brick, for instance, you say to brick, "What do you want, brick?" And brick says to you, "I like an arch." And if you say to brick, "Look, arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lintel over you. What do you think of that, brick?"
Brick says, "I like an arch.””
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining - a manufacturing process which uses computers to control machine tools.
Louis Kahn once wrote about material logic of the humble brick. The brick has an inherent logic that cannot be argued with. Like the brick, the CNC router technology that we see today has an obvious and undeniable material logic. At the moment we see CNC used in a singular way;
1. Design a product
2. Program the designs into the CNC
3. The CNC organises components to minimise waste
4. Cut the designed components
5. Retrieve the designed parts and dispose of the waste (the waste is often the most beautiful part)
This process is clever and quick. It gives access to designers who cannot afford typical methods of mass production while also making craftsmen/women out of those of us who have never picked up a hammer before. However this process avoids the necessary question for our resource of scarce time; what is the CNC router’s logic? And by its extension, what is the material logic of the sheet material that passes through it?
ZW Table is the result of an exploration of this question. We defined ourselves two simple rules;
Waste nothing. The entire 2400x1200 sheet that is cut by the CNC will be used in the table.
Single cuts only. Typically a CNC routes around the edge of each component. Instead we aimed to have the release of 2 components with each cut. Time of production is halved. Wear and tear on the CNC is reduced to a minimum, drastically extending the life of the tool.
One sheet of plywood measuring 2400mm by 1200mm is cut into a set of unique shapes symmetrical along a central axis, and every single piece can be used to assemble a table. All you are left with is a bag of sawdust, inescapable from the CNC process. Sawdust is inevitable, but it is not waste. The consumer is obliged to take the entire sheet with them and therefore the consumer takes the sawdust, which they can use as garden mulch, cat litter, etc....
It’s not really a table anymore
It’s a table, but it is also a building unit. A brick all of its own. One can be added to another - side by side, they make a bigger table; but if stacked, a bunk. And it doesn’t just stop there, because you are only limited by your imagination. The mirrored sections of a single template, though simple in form, produce a great complexity in fixing locations - there is no one way of assembling the ZW Table, so the genetics of the table are different every time, much like the way our DNA makes us all unique.
Most importantly the ZW Table values the use of bolts over chemical adhesives. Glueing the components together results in an unchangeable object, with the benefits of being strong and long-lasting. By using bolts only, this table becomes impermanent - there is constant freedom to rearrange, extend or repair it. So if you’ve decided 20 years later that you don’t want a table anymore, all you have to do is get your wrench and take it apart, and make a shelf. Dismantle, reuse, recycle.
The design is a result of the process
The most exciting thing about the ZW table (for me) is that there was no applied aesthetic. The table emerged from the process, from a material logic, without the imposition of decoration.
“A lot of what we seem to be doing in a product like that is actually getting design out of the way, and I think when forms develop with that sort of reason, and they’re not just arbitrary shapes, it feels almost inevitable, it feels almost un-designed, it feels almost like “course it’s that way, I mean, why wouldn’t it be any other way?” - Jonathan Ive