Dezeen Magazine

Heatherwick Studio's Friction table expands to adapt to different spaces

Sheets of paper set in resin were used to create the latticed structure of this table designed by Heatherwick Studio, which "transforms to offer two forms".

The Friction table, launched during this year's Frieze art fair, is the result of research by the Thomas Heatherwick-led studio into the way furniture can adapt to different spaces and needs.

Described by the designers as a "substantial table that transforms to offer two forms", the lattice formation stretches out to accommodate both large and small groups of people.

"The studio first became interested in the idea of furniture that could change its proportions whilst in fact thinking about another design problem," explained Heatherwick Studio.

"Experimenting with the pivot mechanism, the studio prototyped this concept in a number of objects, further developing and refining it over the years," the studio told Dezeen. "After exploring various forms, the example of an expanding table became the preferred expression of this idea."

The table is formed from slats made out of paper sheets that have been solidified in resin.

According to the studio, this type of material originates from the mid-20th century – and was developed for industrial purposes.

"Its grain and texture are derived from the fibres of the paper and the alternating orientation of the layers," said the studio. "The resulting surface has a rich tactile quality and a naturally mottled colour which ages gracefully over time."

Each of these 61 slats wsa slotted onto a main frame and pinned into place by hand. They were then calibrated and aligned, so that the lattice opens up as it the table legs are pulled outwards.

The shape stretches out from a circular surface that can seat eight people, to a four-metre-long elliptical structure that can accommodate large team meetings and get togethers.

"Whilst the table construction represents the utmost precision and engineering, the finishing process of the table is much like traditional, hand-crafted furniture," said the studio.

"At any point in between, the surface is opened to reveal the internal lattice feature and offer a larger table top."

Heatherwick – who was runner up in the design section of the inaugural Dezeen Hot List – has already been in the news recently, following the completion of an art museum in a former grain silo in Cape Town.

The Friction Table will be on show at London's Daniel Katz gallery until 20 October 2017, as part of this year's Frieze art fair.

It is the third piece in the studio's ongoing series of experimental design works, and will be produced in a limited-edition run of seven.