To Be Continued
New York furniture company BDDW builds a table with no end in sight
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 7/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Economy of expression is BDDW's trademark: pared-down furniture whose sole concession to ornament is the natural grain and coloration of domestic woods. Details are unassuming, if slightly coy. Ebony drawer pulls may drip like melting tar down the front of a white-lacquered credenza. A walnut ladder-back chair curves almost imperceptibly, as if trying to suppress a smile.
But one piece in the company's serene New York showroom goes entirely against the grain. The 17-foot-long, 26-legged table struts flamboyantly across the concrete floor, segueing every few inches into yet another style—from laminated rulers on a raw-steel base to tulip poplar scored with naive bird and tree imagery. A furniture version of the surrealist cadavre exquis, it's not exactly an exercise in restraint.
While demonstrating BDDW's dexterity in various mediums and techniques, the table also serves a more high-minded purpose. To share the design spotlight with behind-the-scenes artisans at the company's Brooklyn workshop, cofounder and creative director Tyler Hays invites a staff member to design a new piece each week. Creative freedom is limited only by size. Sections must be 40 inches wide and 29 inches high, tops no more than 31/2 inches thick. Legs are inset 10 inches. Length cannot exceed 14 inches, although there's no minimum. (Witness the 3-inch-long bronze section.) "The only true constraint is that it functions responsibly," says Hays. "It's a design project, not art."
The table is for sale in increments of 5 feet or more, starting from the back end. There's one caveat, however. Purchased sections can't be taken home unless 15 feet or more remain. Which shouldn't pose a problem. "Our idea is for the table to grow indefinitely," says Hays, "until we run out of ideas." Or room.