The purpose of the project was to design a dining table that is innovative and has appealing aesthetics. The product needed to provide the basic function of a table for 4 persons and double as a storage with 3 compartments. Chairs were excluded from the design.
One possibility would be a rectangular shaped table supported by a rectangular cupboard below. Alternatively, it could be a round table with star-shaped cupboard. A third option considered, was a bean-shaped table. Round table concept was used because of its user-friendliness and ease of manufacturing.
Glass was chosen as the material for table top while the cupboard below used plywood.
The table top was sized to be able to seat 4 persons. The height of the table was set at 30 inches.
The design started out as a sketch on an envelope when there was a flash of inspiration. Eventually it was translated into CAD design that can be used to create measured pieces.
Form, function, and joinery
Making a design that looks nice is only part of the job. Ensuring strength and stability is the other. When we designed the dining table we had to ensure that the joinery chosen was strong enough to support the intended use. Furniture design may also follow a basic set of principles, such as the golden ratio. This ratio is naturally occurring mathematical number. We used the ratio to provide a pleasing proportion to the profile of the design.
It was hard to truly visualise a piece of furniture from a CAD drawing. Even a 270 degree view doesn’t tell the whole story. As such we fabricated mockups to scale, to help us visualise and refine the design.
We used the CAD system to plot out the various plywood parts, the cupboard sub-assemblies and glass table top part. We sent out the table top drawing to glass fabrication shop for custom cutting. The plywood parts were fabricated at the workshop and assembled and then painted.
The plywood sub-assemblies were fastened and table top was placed over it. Some adjustments were made to sure the star shape was at the correct angle. Rough edges were smoothened.
The drawers were tested to see if they can be pulled out and pushed back smoothly. 4 chairs were placed around the dining table, and 4 persons were invited to seat around it to check if it was comfortable. They were asked to give opinion of the overall quality of the design. Finally, a specification check list was used to make sure if the specs were met. Example: 4 person capacity and 3 storage compartments.