Dezeen Magazine

4foldlow by George Rice for Formtank

British designer George Rice has designed a table made by cutting and folding a standard sheet of steel.


Designed for British brand Formtank, the 4foldlow table is laser cut and then folded by hand.


The new product is part of the 2d3d range of tables (below), which are all made of folded steel and which were launched last year.


Here's some info from Rice:


From a 2 dimensional plan springs a 3 dimensional form. 4foldlow is the stunning new table by George Rice for Formtank - cut and folded from a single sheet of steel.


4foldlow, like the entire 2d3d Group of tables to which it belongs, has been reverse designed from the  standard size of sheet steel in order to optimises yield and minimise waste. Sheet steel is cut using laser technology and then hand folded by engineers in a process that can trace its roots to the Japanese art of origami.


Bending back the steel structure in your minds eye reveals the 2 dimensional pattern and the secret of the design innovation. The horizontal and vertical components provide strength and rigidity in this delightful marriage of creativity and logic.


4foldlow builds on the success of the 2d3d Group launched last September at 100% Design London with this striking new addition available in a selection of colours, finishes and materials. This fascinating occasional table is versatile and complements a multitude of surroundings from business environments and hotel lobbies to public spaces and the private home.


Minimising Waste

Environmental Design is on everyone’s agenda and Formtank is looking towards a more sustainable approach to manufacturing. With this in mind the 2d3d Group attempts to produce “more from less” through a simple proposition; utilise a single sheet of steel in the most efficient way.

The reverse design approach yields 8 tables from one standard sheet of steel and limits waste to just 3.5% overall. Moreover the intricate forms creates the illusion of there being more material than there actually is, conversely the steel sub-structure represents just one quarter of total mass.

Rooted in triangles: the 2d3d development

The development of 4foldlow has been long and extensive, requiring complex mathematics and precision engineering. The outcome is visually complex, while on closer inspection the structure begins to reveal itself.
“The outcome is totally unique and the glass top acts like a picture frame bringing the whole piece together” remarks George Rice, the designer of 4foldlow. “I’m delighted with the result, it never fails to stop people in their tracks while they scratch their heads a little!”

Formtank is a London based furniture company and principal retailer for the acclaimed 2d3d Group of tables designed by George Rice and officially launched at 100% Design London in 2008. Since its conception the 2d3d Group has won praise across the design world for its radical approach in optimising and folding sheet steel.

George Rice

George’s passion for creativity is driven by a need to rationalise. The abundance of over designed buildings and objects only act to re-enforce his motivation. “My approach is always to think laterally and take several steps back in order to clearly see an objective. That’s where the simple and beautiful solutions are often found”.

Having travelled extensively before settling in London, George is influenced by architecture, civil engineering, aviation and the lateral thinking which lies behind them all. “I’m fascinated by the big projects, the logistics, the planning. Aviation epitomises all of these elements without design for the sake of design. When a plane or helicopter flies over you’ll always see me looking up! I’m inspired by the pure genius and endeavour.”

Amongst George’s heroes are pioneers such as Erno Goldfinger, the no-nonsense Austrian architect famous for such radical buildings as Trelick Tower in West London and his beloved home in Hampstead.
Citing Richard Buckminster Fuller as one of the lesser know greats, George recognises the forward thinking of this engineer, architect, and futurist who back in the 1960’s spoke of the importance of sustainability, efficiency in design and the limitations of the world’s resources.

Despite receiving no formal training in design or engineering, George has led diverse projects spanning product design to building developments. His grasp of mechanics and depth of material knowledge alongside a good dose of common sense ensures there will be much more to come.


4foldlow is available direct from Formtank from August 2009.
Visit our dedicated website for 2d3d at