The Lofting Table was originally designed as a base for a salvaged piece of glass. The design uses a mixture of 3D CAD technology and simple jointing methods to create a dynamic, precise, and purposeful form. The name derives from the traditional lofting technique used to plot curves in boat-building, here achieved through the use of CADCAM fabrication. Unusually for a timber table, rather than jointing a support frame with a separate top, the construction is based around laminating sections together to describe a single complex 3D geometry: the structure and the surface are one and the same.
A series of straight edged plywood chords combine to describe a complex shape formed by the extrusion between a straight line (at the table base) and a curved-edged top.
The separate plywood pieces are laminated (via dowels) together by hand to form a continuous, composite surface, which extends the layered surface effect of the exposed plywood lamina. Once all pieces are combined, the shape gives the table an overall stability which allows for the thinness of the members.
3D CAD software was used to establish the form, which was then sliced into strips to suit the plywood thickness and exported as 2D information to drive a CNC router. The shape of the pieces means that they can be nested within sheets of plywood to minimise cutting wastage. The table is hand-finished and sealed with a natural wax to enhance the exposed plywood grain.
Matthew Jones is an architect and designer from London with an interest in the implications and possibilities of blending the precision and complexity of digital fabrication with simple and traditional construction methods. The table is the first in a series of products exploring these ideas, currently in fabrication for release in 2012. More details can be found at matthewjonesdesign.co.uk.