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Misfit Table Quiz

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Q: Which one of these four tables is the misfit?

Is it Table 1, designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, in 1928?

This table is called the LC6 but it’s usually known (unfairly to its co-designers) as “the Corbusier table”. You can download lots of nice photos of it from the Cassina website, here.

LC6 a.k.a. “the Corbusier table”

You can find the specifications and a list of stores here. Prices range from $H1,000~$2,000, although cheaper copies are available. It’s expensive because the base is made of welded “aeronautical” steel with the welds ground and polished for a seamless finis. The tabletop is a 0.6-inch thick rectangle of Italian glass. It’s a nice table. I owned one once. I discovered that an optical mouse doesn’t work on it. I also discovered that the underside of the glass needs cleaning as often as the top. I eventually sold it to an architect for 60% of what I paid for it.

Is it Table 2, designed by Foster+Partners in 1987?

Sorry – it’s not a table, it’s the Nomo “desking system”. As a glass desk, I imagine it has all the disadvantages of the LC6, plus some new ones. This is the usual image of it, although it’s also available in different finishes and materials.

Foster+Partners: Nomos “desking system” (a.k.a. table)

F+P’s website says that [its design is] “Governed by the unchanging needs of the human body, seated or standing, it has metal legs, angled from a central spine, as if poised for flight.” Notice how each component has its own thing to do? And how each of them look like they are actually necessary?  This is the brilliance of the F+P brand. Here’s what the website has to say.

The concept of Nomos (a Greek word meaning fair distribution) is based on the relationship between the users and the space they occupy. At the heart of the design is a flexible kit of precision-engineered components that can be combined to create miniature working environments for individuals or groups. The starting point is the spine, to which are added legs, feet, supports, work surfaces and superstructures, while a vertebra-like conduit carries cabling. Characterised by its splayed feet – an undercarriage more evocative of motion than the legs of a traditional table, some critics have suggested references to the lunar landing module, or to the grasshopper with its slim body and gangly legs. Utilising this highly stable frame, the system can accommodate shelves, storage, screens, lighting and signage an assembly governed by the ergonomics of the human body, seated or standing.

If you want the undercarriage of your table to be “more evocative of motion than the legs of a traditional table”, then this is the table for you! Moving on now …

Is it Table 3, the Seoul Table, designed by Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher in 2008? 

You can find more details here and some carbon fibre prototyping imagery here. It does look rather sexy – if you feel that way about tables.

Seoul Table: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher, 2008

According to

The combination of carbon fiber technology with a morphology of organic complexity allows to achieve a super-thin, super-light, and super-robust creature. … The designs utilize the techniques of surface folding, modulation, organic inter-architectualation and smooth transitioning between parts. To embody these nature-like forms, the power of complex geometries and digital simulations are being employed.
inter-architecturalations suggest anxious dining

It has “organic complexity” AND “organic inter-architecturalation” (huh?) and, according to …

the original idea for this product is a generative principle of developing the legs from the table surface through a cut and fold technique. … The technique leaves a hole in the table top surface which reveals the generative move and allows the eye to trace the legs’ trajectory, which are involuting from within the inner depth of the table surface, and projecting the table edge as a tapering cantilever

Or is it Table 4, the MELLTORP table, designed by Lisa Norinder for IKEA’s 2011 catalogue?

Lisa Nrinder for IKEA: MELLTORP, 2011 catalogue

It has a total of 41 parts, all of which are necessary. In Step 1, the circular spacers aren’t there to create a shadow gap. Instead, they increase the distance between the table surface (the top flange) and the lower part of the long beam (the lower flange) to make a web beam which is stronger than the long beam would be otherwise.

the table surface is supported only by the spacers

The short beams don’t support anything. Their role is to provide the other other anchor for the corner bracket in Steps 3. In Step 4, these hidden corner brackets secure the legs to the long beams and the short beams and it is this final step, that makes the table perfectly rigid and stable. According to the (US) IKEA website

The table top is covered with melamine, a moisture- and scratch-resistant finish that is easy to clean. $69.99


  • Meltorp because it works, affordable and elegant. It fits the original ikea philosophy, and that of the post wwII scandanavian design.
    The others are expensive toys with significant flaws.
    Having owned several I know how well they work