Many architects and designers enjoy working with natural stone because of how simple, luxurious, and timeless it can be – this includes furniture designs. As it comes in a wide array of colours and forms, and is both flexible and durable, it never falls out of fashion and never falls short of enriching interior spaces. When it comes to designing coffee tables, natural stone is a must-used material for many. In this article, we have compiled for you several contemporary coffee table designs chiselled out of a myriad of natural stones – namely marble, limestone, and granite.
Dig Where You Stand
Dig Where You Stand is a series of 6 crafted coffee table objects. Students from the Estonian Academy of Arts’ School of Industrial Design transformed blocks of limestone in order to create this collection. The design team wanted to showcase limestone as a solid and raw rather than a surface material, as is more common today. The idea was to rediscover the industrial potential of this material. The project was presented at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. The team wanted to have people acknowledge the legacy of Estonia’s many limestone quarries. Employing local masonry and industrial manufacturing techniques, every piece in the collection were developed as part of a course led by designer Nick Ross by having his students research and observe the material. The collection’s title makes reference to local identity, cultural belonging, and the notion of “place.”
Italian architect and designer Elissa Ossino collaborated with Salvatori to conceive “Proiezioni” a collection of high and low/coffee tables sculpted from black, white, and green marble. The Word proieziona means “projections” in Italian, and emphasizes how light reflects off the surface of natural stone. Each design incorporates multiple tones of natural in one piece, thus crating a cinematic projection effect through shadows and strong geometric shapes. Launched in 2018, the collection consists of 4 coffee tables, each taking on a basic geometric form: circle, oval, square, and rectangle. Ossino intended for each piece to serve a different function by making them of different heights in such a way that they interweave into a single continuum. From largest to smallest, the circular and oval tables (two in total) are 90 x 35 cm and 60 x 35 cm (diameter times height), the square table is 90 x 90 cm, and the rectangular table is 90 x 150 x 30 cm.
Designed by the London-based studio Made in Ratio, “Elements” is a coffee table collection whereby each piece is made up of a basic circular top made from marble, a prismatic triangle base, and an angled, stainless steel stem connecting the two. The base is made from heavy marble – chosen for its stability and incredible durability. The collection both appeals to the human sense of touch and comes in a wide palate of colours – 8 to be exact! Brodie Niel (Creative Director of Made in Radio) first launched his collection at the Biennale Interieur in Belgium. Weaving modernity with technology, “Elements” defies time all the while reflecting an avant-garde, aesthetic character.
French architect and designer Martin Massé’s Orsetta – a collection of natural stone coffee tables that he designed for Studio Twenty Seven in New York – resemble mushrooms. One piece in particular, “Orsetto 02” sits low to the ground on short, thick, stub-like legs. The word Orsetta actually means baby bear or teddy in Italian, and the pieces of furniture have a cuddly air about them despite being made of thick stone elements. Massé said that he was inspired by the work of Japanese animatör Miyazaki, and in particular, by one of Miyazaki’s most anime characters, Totoro. Each coffee table is made of limestone and sits only 35 cm high. While they look adorable because of their smooth finishes, they nevertheless are unyieldingly heavy. Limestone generally isn’t used for that very reason, however it lends the collection a distinct character all onto its own.
Japanese studio Nendio designed the “Sway” collection for Italian marble furniture brand Marsotto Edizioni. The Japanese design team, lead by Oki Sato, wanted to exploit the weight of marble by creating coffee tables that look as though they are tilting towards one side. Although the legs appear to be buckling under the marble’s weight, they in fact have been fastened using a special system – thereby turning disadvantage into advantage. The some 50 collection items – each subtly resembling the other – were shown at Milan Design Week. Each piece underscores the notions of symmetry and asymmetry and intentionally throws the viewer’s mind for a loop.