Manifold by Anthony Leyland


British designer Anthony Leyland launched a collection of tables made of folded steel at Designersblock in London last month.

Called Manifold, the project consists of a range of coffee tables that are cut and bent into various forms without fixings.

The designs are formed from a single sheet of steel and powder-coated.

See all our stories about London Design Festival 2009 in our special category.

Here's some information about the product and designer:


"Manifold 2 is the result of a mathematical game to create a coffee table from a square sheet of material, by cutting and bending alone, with no other components. It is a process which, in spite of its constraints, permits a limitless number of solutions.

The series’ creator, Anthony Leyland, is a mathematician, artist and designer; his work uses rules and constraints to drive the creative process, with readymade natural, industrial and conceptual objects.

To make the search for solutions more manageable, Anthony has further restricted this first series to elementary geometry - straight lines, arcs, rotational and mirror symmetries. He also decided to exclude, as far as possible, his personal sense of taste from the process, by looking systematically for the possible, rather than only the attractive. And yet, when these simple constraints are systematically explored and applied, the results are varied, striking and beautiful. There is a surprising and fascinating diversity of styles and nuances, revealing how a small change in angle or curve can dramatically change the personality of the design.

The series is presented unedited, primarily to demonstrate the scope of the process, but also for practical reasons - everyone has a different set of favourites and rejects, making it impossible to make a definitive shortlist. shows every design created (and digitised) since 2001, when Anthony started playing with the idea; no doubt it will continue to expand.

The first batch into production are coffee tables, made from 1 metre square sheets of 6 mm steel, with powder coated finishes.

Sustainability was a primary concern in the choice of steel. The tables themselves are practically indestructible, lasting as long as they are needed; the designs inherently avoid combining the steel with other materials or components, which can be easily extracted and recycled infinitely (without loss in quality).

These designs are scale and material “agnostic”, and can easily be reworked as desks, large tables etc. The process itself can be applied to many other design problems and requirements. Limited editions in glass, stainless steel, and aluminium are under consideration."

Posted on Sunday October 18th 2009 at 6:10 am by Jasmin Gunkar. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • OG

    i actually love this. maybe they’re not all that practical but it looks really nice. simple and smart. i want one. nice colours.

  • xinxinchai

    Nice idea, but then again, case of aesthetics triump over function. I mean, how is one going to use the table comfortably with all the legs poking at you in all directions ?

  • greig

    great experimentation and they work. love them

  • Great idea, but looks dangerous

  • I love what we find when we design within constraints. It pushes us to see something that we might have otherwise missed. Love the idea, designs and execution. It would be awesome to see a collection dealing with more than just coffee tables.

  • boom

    soo 2002. sorry. but seriously.

  • Wim

    I like these designs a lot. It proofs that math doesn’t have to be boring. :D The tables are very neat and elegant.

    One thing I have my doubts about is the weight of the tables. 1 square meter of steel from 6mm thick weighs ca. 47 kg. The tables look very light, but they are not! :) If they were made from plywood they would be less heavy!

  • zed

    See Konstantin Grcic’s Diana Series tables from 2002…

    I agree with OG, not very practical, at lease Grcic’s approach reflects an economy of material and thoughtful design.

  • John

    These tables are quite similar to ones I saw at Designersblock at Milan this year:

  • Xit

    Hey Zed good reference but i’m sure that Anthony (and every other young designer in the world) knows about Gricic’s metal tables :)

  • I agree that their shapes make them terribly impractical but I think their execution make them very elegant. The softly curved corners soften the hard edges in a very appealing fashion.

  • BRian


    Very kool experimentation! Dangerous! MMMMM….! I like!

  • Jen

    Very nice design statement: super heavy tables with a dangerous flair!

  • xing

    I think something similiar have been done, Noguchi Prismatic Side table is basically folded Aluminum.