Boatbuilding Tools Inspired This Flat-Packed Side Table

Designed by BCXSY for Tortuga Living, the Contrast table features three slabs of differing geometries that interlock and clamp down to produce the finished product.
BCXSY contrast side table

Courtesy Hannah Whitaker

The Contrast side table is the happy result of two collaborations. The first occurred between designers BCXSY and the Meitheal Mara Community Boatyard in Cork, Ireland, where the studio found inspiration in a plywood clamping system used by local boatbuilders. BCXSY crafted an early object that riffed on the device, but it remained a prototype for roughly four years. That is, until they found their second collaborator: Tortuga Living, a company specializing in contemporary flat-pack furnishings. “Getting the solutions we did with Tortuga is actually doing right by this product,” says Boaz Cohen of BCXSY. Now Contrast is available to the public.

Three slabs of differing geometries interlock and clamp down on one another to form the table, with each component composed of a birch plywood core, a Formica laminate surface, and luxury edge banding. The designers agree that the use of veneer was essential to keeping Contrast affordable (it starts at $198 retail), but it also enhances the table’s aesthetic appeal.

And, the designers say, building a 3D piece from a flat-pack product adds an element of magic. “[The veneer] allowed us to use much more fantasy,” Cohen says. “There’s craftsmanship in anything if it’s done well.”

CONCEPT
“The idea embodied ‘contrast’ in different ways: the main surfaces, the edges, and things like that. So ‘contrast’ plays quite an important role within the whole thing.” —Boaz Cohen

CLAMP
“Those [boatbuilding] clamps were actually a side thing, in a way. They are super simple but quite ingenious. When we saw them we said, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’” —B.C.

COVERING
“It was an exciting process when it came to choosing final finishes. It was actu- ally quite difficult to make those decisions, because there were so many in- teresting and beautiful combinations.” —B.C.

CONSTRUCT
“From every angle you view the piece, you discover something else. . . . The light comes in and gener- ates a reflection. So it’s actu- ally very, very beautiful.” —Sayaka Yamamoto

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Categories: Furniture, Interior Products