Dezeen Magazine

Turia Table by Maxime Mellot

Maxime Mellot's Turia table includes a birdcage, fish tank and plant pot

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Maxime Mellot has integrated a birdcage, a fish tank and a plant pot into this desk to encourage users "to look at natural elements".

Maxime Mellot's steel-frame Turia desk is too high and too small to work on comfortably.

Instead, a clay pot, steel birdcage and glass tank form part of the design to encourage the user to slow down and observe the life inside.

"In a society with a continuous focus on performance and permanent internet connection, pure moments of privacy become rare and precious. How can furniture invite us to take a break and enjoy an 'unconnected' moment?" asked the designer.

Turia Table by Maxime Mellot

"The idea is really to switch the focus from 'I am very active, Facebooking, networking and so on' to 'I chose to have birds in a cage, so now I have to take care of them'," Mellot told Dezeen.

The wire cage is positioned over a circular indent in one corner of the oak tabletop. One of the legs appears to extend through the surface and branch to create a perch for small birds.

A tank for fish is positioned so the water level sits flush with the work surface. The bottom of the tank balances on a cross brace between two legs.

The clay pot for a small plant is partly submerged in the water, with the greenery overspilling the sides.

Turia Table by Maxime Mellot

"By integrating iconic items such as a birdcage and fish tank in the tabletop, the focus almost automatically shifts from the obligatory 'to-do-list' to a pleasant pondering of nature," said Mellot.

"As the fish nibble on the roots of the plant under water, the birds sing next to you while having a cup of tea or a snack."

Mellot had the idea for the project while living in Valencia. "The name Turia is a tribute to Valencia's huge park, that connects the city centre and the seaside," he explained.

"I noticed how influenced I was by living so close to a peaceful and slow place like this. So, this project is about admiring slowness, and a way to achieve that is to look at natural elements, because you have no control over them."

Turia Table by Maxime Mellot

The project is currently a prototype and intended partly as critical design, but equally as something that could go into production.

The Turia table was on show during Dutch Design Week as part of the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show, where Mellot has just graduated from the Man and Activity Department.