There was a particular table and set of chairs in the meeting room of my previous employer. I was meeting with a client in that room one time. He sat there, leaning back and forth and looking at the details of the set, and he said to me, ‘This is a bit style over substance, isn’t it?’ This still makes me laugh. Here I was in my arrogance thinking it was all substance!I think it’s good to have your own biases challenged from time to time. He was a very accepting client; he was willing to go out on a limb and build something exciting, with a good aesthetic sensibility. I trusted him.

The starting point for this set was a simple role reversal: steel and timber were to swap their usual roles. The steel table top has its support lattice and legs pulled in from the edge, so its portrait looks impossibly thin. Plywood legs taper to match the chairs.

The chairs are made of two simple profiles, at a wedge rather than parallel, joined by one mortise-and-tenoned cross member under the knees. The seat and back are steel.

I used clear coatings to emphasise the material swap. I wanted to show off the welds, the discoloration, the areas of oxidisation in the steel. The timber is plywood; when sanded back, it reveal sits layers like topographical lines. I’ve exposed the two materials in their truest form, exposing qualities people might otherwise choose to hide
Project Info
Completion: 2014
Photos: Josiah Watson
Builder: Gerard Dombroski