Peak Oil by Charlie Davidson


British designer Charlie Davidson has designed a coffee table as a monument to the "oil age".

Above photograph © Tim Allen

Called Peak Oil, the product features a glass top on a glossy black base derived from the shape of a mahogany tree stump.

More about Charlie Davidson on Dezeen: Is This The Coolest Chair Ever Made?

Here's some more information from Davidson:


The origins of oil date back some 65 to 500 million years and originated when organic matter such as trees and plants combined with hydrocarbons and pressure to form oil saturated rocks. This oil eventually leached out to form pockets that got trapped between impermeable layers of shale.

Since the human race is soon going to see the end of the ‘oil age’ as we know it, and it is not going to take long, it would only be fitting to produce an iconic and sickly reminder of those times to pass.

The table takes its basic form from the trunk of a mahogany tree which has been rendered with the glossy black plastic surface, a synthetic tomb stone if you like.

Posted on Monday December 7th 2009 at 2:45 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • The ‘inspired by oil peak’ bit seems like PR spin – there is really nothing in this table that speaks about the consumption of oil in our society. I much prefered Studio Job’s Robber Barron table…

  • m

    please, no more 3d renderings of design. Publish it when it’s finished – if it ever will.

  • Xit

    I love his motorbikes

  • Gianluca

    Seriously: you wanna talk about oil? make a film, write a book, make a song. Why do you make a coffee table?

    The shape is nice.

  • Novembre X Aalto

  • Pops

    In so far as the base’s material is produced from oil and a vain waste of a precious resource, it fits.

    BTW, hydrocarbons are formed FROM plants Charlie.

  • Jones

    I’d second that comment about 3D renderings, especially with products. I can accept that the stratospheric costs involved with architecture, say, can keep many projects in the purely theoretical realm. With the vast majority of products, however, that isn’t the case. Plastic and glass are hardly the most costly of materials, after all. Can a hollow loop of acrylic happily support a heavy glass top, and how is one going to be fixed to the other so that it won’t topple over if someone leans on it too hard? Given that the designer’s last project to appear on Dezeen was called “Is This The Coolest Chair Ever Made?” it’s difficult to accept on the basis of some renders that this isn’t just some woolly nonsense about oil and a hastily knocked out form intended to get a bit of attention because it relates to the current issue, rather than a project that’s going to get made.

  • JC

    Some amazing french artist called BP have been doing artwork with oil for more than 20 years, very intersting work to discover

  • curb

    studio job robber barron table YES

  • Ants

    Im suprised that there wasnt a mention about being Enviro Friendly

  • chris

    nice form, but as always, the glass top is an inelegant resolution, as it is so ‘off the shelf’ compared to the sunsual base. Also why work within the typolgy of coffee table? is it really necessary?

  • andrea

    i agree with some above.. stop this nonsense pubblication of conceptual 3d renderings… is just building up a bad habit in designers (and I see that more and more when the manufacturing process starts)..

  • amsam

    If you put a heavy book on one end of this coffee table, it looks like the glass would topple to the floor. Crash! I don’t mind computer renderings if it’s some awesome exploratory design that upends all our assumptions or something, but really? A coffee table? Really? Build the damn table and show us it works, brotha. I can buy 18 coffee tables this interesting at the average furniture store, and know they work.

  • Gianluca

    As I said before I don’t like the fact that it’s supposed the be a “monument to oil age”. About the shape I’ve nothing to say, it’s nice.

    About the renderings issue: I don’t agree with Andrea or Jones or “m”. For a young designer making a model takes 1 month work and a lot of money. Plus, afterwards you have to be able to take good pictures, witch involves lights and a set.

    You can “cheat” also with models, not only with renderings.

    I would like to underline that young designers don’t have stagists working for free for them, they have to do all alone.

  • Looks like a great table.. whether the oil industry is something worth making a table for is another matter perhaps..

  • typist


    Renderings are fine to present to a client or manufacturer to give an impression or outline. It is not enough to present a rendering here as a final realised product. Furthermore, this product is not even resolved to working stage. This is not good enough. Plain and simple.

  • i think people don’t get it! , what you have done is not be afraid to realise a concept/inspiration… Its great that this can be visualised and if it goes no further it is still a success in my opinion, to have presented a considered idea. Hostility is allways lingering in those that envy attention, as they find faultS such as….” it will fall over”! these are minor issues but important i guess to those that are constrained by tradition. Keep pushing the boundries! Great work and attitude!