Stasis Table Wins Italian Design Award
Based in Italy, the international competition is judged by a panel of top-flight professionals and is billed as the world's largest and most diffused of its kind. The table won in the Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Category.
In the questionnaire Mike filled out to enter the contest, he stated that he designed the concrete table "to create a pristine, slender object from a material normally associated with mass and roughness."
"Concrete has some special and unique characteristics that make it different from every other material, but we tend to use it like plastic, or granite," he wrote. "I hope the table will serve as a reminder to love materials also, not just shapes or space."
It took him less than a minute to design the table. "It's only a few lines," he said. "It took quite a bit more time and experimenting to learn how to sculpt the molds so as to be able to achieve the shapes I wanted."
A concrete piece that curves into a third dimension is very difficult to mold. Mike, Scott Soffer, and the rest of the team at Solid & Void handmade the molds using Polytek rubber, styrofoam, plaster and bondo. Scott Soffer is a carpenter and designer in his own right, and the two have worked together for well over a decade.
This type of project wouldn't have been possible even a few years ago, Mike said, but fiber-modified concrete can achieve a strength of 10,000 psi compressive strength and a tensile strength of up to 3.000 psi, which eliminates the need for metal reinforcing and makes the shape possible. "The table is really just a few lines, so coercing those lines to distribute the weight properly was the challenge. In the case of the Stasis Table, I really wasn't satisfied until it could hold my full body weight and about 100 pounds of glass."
Yes, this is Mike Pond himself making the Stasis Table. Photos courtesy of him.
Mike also discussed his design process. "I am not very complicated. I make lists. The idea is that the lists should begin to shape the design, without even your intervention. Programmatic, social, zoning considerations will all start to spell out what the space/product should be, without my ego getting in the way and messing it up ... 10 years ago I wouldn't have been able to produce this, because I didn't have the patience for it yet."
Finally, Mike called out the prominence of the CNC router in concrete design. "I believe that the dependence on this tool has led to a diminished appreciation and love for the intrinsic characteristics of materials. I am most definitely NOT calling for the disuse of the CNC router, but I am calling attention to the fact that this tool has allowed all manner of materials to be treated as plastic, where nearly any Euclidian shape can be carved into nearly any material."
SureCrete GFRC Casting Mix
Polytek Pol-Ease 2300 mold release
SureCrete Canyon Sunset XS Color Pack
Water-reducing superplasticizer (custom mix)
Bon 32-504 3/4-inch concrete fibers (custom mix)
Polytek Poly 75-80 Liquid Rubber
GE Silicone II caulk
Diamond grinder pads (30 to 6,000 grit)
Custom sealer and finish