Parabolic Side Tables I, II and III

Parabolic Side Tables I, II and III

Parabolic Side Tables I, II and III

Parabolic Side Tables I, II and III

Parabolic Side Tables I, II and III

Tom Palmer

The Parabolic Study tables are the result of a period of research and experimentation into methods of dynamic casting, attempting to develop completely new casting processes in which the mould is not a fixed constant in the production of a piece, but is encouraged to change and therefore alter each piece.

Inspired by the design and modelling methods of the architect Antoni Gaudi, whom, in his pursuit of a new architectural language derived from natural forms, led him to explore complex ruled geometrical forms such as the helicoid and the hyperbolic paraboloid. He would equate the helicoid to movement and the latter to light transfigured into stone.

Concerning ruled surfaces he said :

“Paraboloids, hyperboloids and helicoids, constantly varying the incidence of the light, are rich in matrices themselves, which make ornamentation and even modelling unnecessary”

Without access to modern digital means of rendering these incredibly complex shapes he developed modelling processes using weighted string and chain. Whilst Palmer is working in a time when anything can be modelled and manufactured digitally, he avoids this as it precludes the opportunity for random chance that hand making presents.

After extensive materials research on different moulding materials Palmer alighted upon the perfect medium from an unlikely source, polished latex sheet from a fetish wear supplier, as it offered the perfect combination of properties, extreme stretch and malleability and surface shine. Once stretched across a wooden framework, he found he could distort and manipulate the latex into these extraordinary geometrical forms using steel plates and super-strong rare earth magnets. This process allows him to generate a new form from each cast, simply by changing the variable that is the position of the magnet.

He then used this mould to cast a form using the same traditional technique as you would cast ornate plasterwork but, instead of plaster and hessian, using the polymer casting material Jesmonite and fibreglass.

And so it becomes possible to transfigure a complex abstract concept and form, such as a hyperbolic paraboloid into a physical object by profoundly analogue means.


Jesmonite / Fibreglass

Dimensions: H60 / D40 / W30