The Merhaba Table was born out of desire to create refuge. And to create this refuge in Clarkston, Georgia. That desire grew into an even bigger goal to create a place for all stories, all conversations, and all people. Refuge Coffee Company is already that space, but now there is a set of tables that represent this desire too.
The table’s design is specific, functional and beautiful. Most importantly, however, it tells the story of unity within diversity. The shape of the each table is a slight curve. The curve form was inspired by the letterforms of all the various languages represented in Clarkston. From Arabic to Urdu, English to Amharic, Nepali to Swahili - this slight curve is represented in every written language.
Language and spoken word is the currency of conversation. And in its physical form, it is the rails by which a story is told.
UNITY WITHIN DIVERSITY.
Three elements were requested of the table form:
1. Bringing unity to the form was paramount to the design of the table and telling that story.
2. The table need to store easily and compactly.
3. A wide culturally diverse audience will use the table and therefore the table needed to function at both a western and eastern height.
1. The letterforms and their semicircle shapes fufilled the element of diversity and arranging them into a complete circle perfectly demonstrated the idea of unity within diversity.
2. The table is designed to store flat or stacked. Each table is 12 feet long and two and a half feet wide when stored flat. The tables can be stored flat or stacked at the eastern height.
3. Each table functions at two different heights by they length at which the legs are extended. The eastern height also has the ability to be a sitting surface should the occasion arise.
View the Merhaba Table Pitch Deck using Issuu
The Merhaba Table required me to not only consider form but also function because people would ideally be sitting at this table on a regular basis. I met with the Refuge Coffee Company staff multiple times throughout the process of designing the table in order to keep their needs and desires at top of mind. For the initial models, I used chipboard and balsa wood and cut those out by hand. The next step was to start experimenting with flexure joints and a laser cutter. An initial flexure joint model was produced but is not an adequate or complete version of the table.
Overall the process was a lot of trial and error but very fulfilling to design with a specific community in mind.