Winter can be depressing, 10-20 percent of people are estimated to have seasonal affective disorder, and many more find themselves longing for sun and nature during these treacherous months. For this project we wanted to create a sort of sanctuary, a way to transform a gloomy interior work environment into a lively outdoor picnic. The idea was to have an enclosed structure with lights and ways to simulate foliage so that the user feels as if they are enjoying their lunch in a forest. For this purpose we created a table with this design that could convert to a normal workspace or lunch table, specifically with the space restrictions at NuVu Studio and other work environments being taken into account.
We started with an idea that would perfectly mimic a picnic. There would be several components to this idea. There would have been several greenish LED lights that would be connected to the top of the table canopy. The canopy would rest on top of the table. It would enclose the structure and make you feel more isolated from the setting you were in before. The canopy would have three layers. The first layer would be a transparent mosquito netting like fabric that would be purely for aesthetics. The second layer would be an opaque sheet of white which our lights would be able to reflect of off. The third layer would be a clear plastic sheet that would make it possible for the table to be used in different types of weather. The plastic would make the table able to go out in rain and snow, and it will insulate the inside on cold days. Along the two weeks, pieces of this idea were scrapped until we ended up with something totally different. We still wanted to include the canopy, but we wanted the table to be able to expand.
We ended up with two main designs, both focused on different ways to raise the canopy. The first design was the one we have had all along, the telescoping pole and umbrella idea. In this model, we would use a telescoping pole to come up and down through a hole in the table. On top of the pole would be an umbrella that would fan out to hold the canopy. The umbrella would have to be modified as to not have a pointy tip or such prominent metal rods. Our other idea was to have a series of rings above the table be able to be lifted up through the table to hold the canopy on top of that. Over the next day, multiple versions of both these models were built, and we decided that we would us rings instead of an umbrella.
The last three days of our studio were spent building the final model. We decided to attach the rings to the top of the pole. In order to achieve this goal, we built a base table with an umbrella type structure that can be raised above it to create the setup. The umbrella like structure can also increase the size of the table when collapsed, turning an intimate dining situation into a large collaborative workspace. This is done by having three concentric circles: a base circle with a 36” diameter, a middle ring with a 48” diameter, and an outer ring with a 52” diameter. This creates a table that can fit either 2, 4, or 6 people respectively. To actually lift these rings up and down, there are pulleys attached to the bottom of the table that you can manually crank. Our final version of the project did not actually include our nature elements due to time constraints, so it simply had the umbrella mechanism. The outer and middle rings are attached to a center pole and have locking mechanisms to suspend them above the table.