An often-overlooked tenet of the green design process is the creation of objects that tell a story, that have a history, and that engage with the user to extend their life span beyond the disposable and ephemeral. Donna Piacenza of Studio 1a.m. (the creative genius behind eco-friendly jewelry like the Cork Cuff and Industrial Bloom) has just produced a new table concept that does just this, flirting with the boundaries of mass production and customization. The table concept, titled ‘This Table Will Self Destruct,’ is a simple, clean-lined design constructed of sorghum and concrete. With each order, a “pixel” is removed from the design, so that each owner receives a different, progressively deconstructed iteration of the original table. After x number of productions, the table will cease to exist. The table raises some interesting questions of sustainability, durability, disposability, and the mass production design market.

We’ve seen this type of customization-amidst-mass-production approach in Dutch design before, and we’re interested in its unique approach to green design (it’s a more user- and socially-oriented approach than one of materiality). From a material standpoint, the table is made from Kirei, one of our favorite eco-friendly materials, and the ever-durable concrete, whose green properties are debatable (though you could argue that its durability alone lends itself to less disposable objects and extended object lifespans). But the real interest lies in the table’s ability to tell a story about mass production and its history and future as different versions of the same thing. The fact that each user receives a unique item makes the table special, giving it a type of heirloom quality that should increase an owner’s attachment to it. Either way, we love the idea of combining mass production techniques with customization, and the fact that ‘This Table Will Self-Destruct’ creates an inherent limited edition of one-of-a-kind objects.

+ Studio 1a.m.


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Everette April 28, 2007 at 8:30 am

    cute idea, nice execution, but has it really been thought out?

    as you lose the pixels, each table becomes less valuable, not more. you would only make it to table# x and then there is either not enough material to call it a table, or none to buy at all.

    a run of 1000 tables with a unique configuration will eventually sell 1000 tables. By this loss of pixels idea, only say, 800 willl be bought, the last 200 either too chiseled, or not “exclusive” enough and become less and less wanted or coveted, which is a waste. (see: limited edition cars, sports memorbillia, etc.)

    the irony is that this by it’s own logic, this is a very consumer demand project, not a responsible one. one-of is unique and worth the price, one of even a few losses it value on some scale.

    intresting and thought provoking.

  2. Richie April 24, 2007 at 10:02 am

    What’s mass produced in this design… the sorghum wood base ? How do you ‘mass produce’ a ‘one off’ item ? Is this a ‘test’… an April Fools day joke that’s just later in the month ?

    If they used ‘PaperCrete’… THEN, they’d be onto something. At least then, if the tables tilted over… toes might survive the exprience.

  3. Nick Simpson April 24, 2007 at 8:41 am

    Although it’s made of concrete and is really very expensive for what it is, I think it’s a very clever idea and would love one of these. I was going to say this could be made of wood, but the unique grain within any piece of wood would lose the homogenous nature of the tables.

  4. David in Bali April 23, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    The Craft of Gimmick?

    I guess I miss the heavy social commentary your find in this series of tables, as well as any design merit. And far more than telling a story of mass production, it tells a story of creating a limited production collectable through a unique approach. Clearly this table will not self destruct so the effort at clever pun (is Mission Impossible still cool?) escapes me. I’m curious if the studio will increase the sale price as production costs increase with the added complexity.

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home