Blueprint Awards 2018 Winners Announced!

Best Product Design

Winner: Heatherwick Studio, UK
Friction Table

Heatherwick Studio, UK Friction TableImage Credit: Heatherwick Studio

Judges’ Comments

‘Heatherwick doing what he is best at — creating innovative, artistic and poetic solutions to creative challenges.’Tina Norden

‘Simple concept, beautiful design.’Fernanda Marques

In 2004, Heatherwick Studio had an idea for a carpet that could change its proportions, based on the pivoting mechanism of a garden trellis.

Slicing a carpet into strips and allowing these to pivot past each other produced a carpet that could stretch and warp. Using rigid elements and attaching legs created a table that could change shape as dramatically as the carpet. While square shapes became rectangles, the studio also found that a circular one would thin into a long ellipse.

Heatherwick Studio prototyped the idea for the table in laser-cut wood, but settled on the use of a material made of resin-infused paper, offering warmth and high levels of precision that when finished revealed a beautiful and unusual grain from the hundreds of layers of paper. The final table can transform from a smooth circle of 1.8m diameter, able to seat eight, in to an ellipse over 4 metres long. With over 1,800 individual elements, the studio believes the table is much like a grand piano — a simple and familiar exterior form that contains incredible complexity and precision craftsmanship.

The name Friction is a reminder of the challenge the table faces: too little friction across the 212 articulating joints and the table will wobble; too much friction and it will never open. Each component has to be correct within one tenth of the thickness of a human hair in order to achieve the smooth opening movement.

Highly Commended

Patricia Urquiola for Laufen, Switzerland, SONAR


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Category sponsored by: Hi-Macs

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