Whether we appreciated it or not, the pandemic was a time of pause. For most people, forced isolation was a struggle, one that brought on feelings of confusion and futility. Many creative types, however, embraced it as an opportunity to do what they do best — devise solutions to problems the majority of us were unaware even existed.
Chris Adamick is one such creative. The California industrial designer with a fine arts background was tapped by Corral, a West Coast furniture-maker that emphasizes quality craftsmanship, functionality and ingenuity, to take part in a design charrette addressing the uncertainty of what the future held — specifically, what should we find when we go back to the office?
Adamick established his beachside studio seven years ago after more than a decade of stints with the likes of Rios in Los Angeles and ByLissoni and Pentagram in New York City, and designing furniture for clients such as Bernhardt Design (an ongoing relationship now in its 15th year). For Corral, he set about rethinking the purpose of one of the most commonplace of furniture pieces: the humble table. In the workspace, it’s the hive of collaborative activity, and elsewhere, it’s an anchor for social interactions and conversations — in short, tables are a place to gather and get things sorted.
“How do we come together in a time when we have to stay apart?” Adamick asked himself. To answer his own question, he broke the table’s basic form into individual pieces, then brought them back together, albeit with one key element missing. “In some contract or hospitality contexts, 90 per cent of a table is never used,” he notes, referring to the central expanse that is often simply a placeholder for objects. In recognizing that only the spots directly in front of people are really needed for work, he separated and elevated them to standing height to create surfaces that immediately signal purpose — checking emails, a brief coffee break and, of course, engaging with those safely across the way.
Called Constellation (and distributed through Allsteel), the triangular formation subsequently lowers the middle section, creating a void that can be used and outfitted in multiple ways. “It’s an open canvas to do what you want,” Adamick says, citing feedback that many are filling it with greenery for a hit of biophilia.
The nature of the design is such that it encourages interaction without forcing it: approaching Constellation, one instantly sees if there’s room at the table and can choose their perch accordingly. Pinned with three Best of NeoCon Awards — Gold, Sustainability and Innovation — it’s a clever response to today’s circumstances, one that lets people share space in a safe yet social way.
design does away
with the hierarchical
head-of-table set-up to give each worker their own distinct zone.