Dezeen Magazine

Craggy red and orange side table from Liquid Geology collection by CAN

CAN forms "otherworldly" Liquid Geology tables from recycled car tyres

Impressionist paintings and deep-sea trenches informed the first furniture range from London architecture studio CAN, which combines speckled enamel tabletops with craggy rubber legs.

The three-piece Liquid Geology collection forms part of CAN's ongoing research into underutilised and unexpected materials, which here have been combined to form a coffee, dining and side table.

Red and black coffee table with enamel top and rubber legs by CAN
The Liquid Geology collection includes a side table (top image) and a coffee table (above)

"We wanted the legs and table tops to be in total opposition to further amplify the qualities of each," said the studio's co-founder Mat Barnes. "The tables look to challenge ideas of comfort, taste and what contemporary furniture should look like."

All materials were chosen for maximum visual and textural contrast, with the sleek steel tops enamelled in shades of blue, green and orange before splatters in opposing colours were added by hand.

Liquid Geology tables with speckled enamel tops by CAN
Each features a speckled steel-enamel tabletop

Liquid Geology's bulky timber bases, on the other hand, are coated in a fake stone material called "rubber rock" that CAN originally developed as part of an exhibition design for Sir John Soane's Museum in London.

"We wanted to create a finish that people couldn't immediately identify, to add to the surreal qualities of the surface," Barnes told Dezeen.

"We tested different mixtures and settled on rubber chippings made from recycled car tyres mixed with a flexible polyurethane resin. This proved far more lightweight than using a rough Jesmonite or sprayed concrete finish."

Together, Barnes says the rubber and steel are designed to create the "otherworldly" image of a rocky deep-sea trench glimpsed through the ocean surface, cast in different hues of midnight blue and sunset orange.

"The thin, super glossy, rippling tops represent the water's surface with the thick, craggy legs growing beneath," he explained.

"During research for another project, we came across Monet's series of paintings of the Thames and Parliament, which sparked this idea of the water's surface working in opposition to its surroundings."

Liquid Geology dining table in deep blue colour
The range also includes a deep blue dining table

Liquid Geology isn't the first time that CAN has attempted to replicate natural landscapes through its designs.

Previously, the studio added a fake mountain to its founder's own Edwardian house in south London in a tribute to the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride at Disneyland.

The photography is by Felix Speller.

More images

Liquid Geology by CAN
Liquid Geology by CAN
Liquid Geology by CAN
Liquid Geology by CAN