AIRTABLE takes full advantage of advanced metal printing technology in a furniture system that can be customized for multiple applications. In addition, the project demonstrates a design philosophy that engages with material economy through design, using stainless-steel tubes 6mm in diameter and a table top made of white Corian which was chamfered, and the bottom hollowed out using a 6-axis CNC Router. AIR Table’s apparent structural prowess pushes the limit of materials and therefore aims to inspire the curiosity and audacity to its users by transferring the heavy load of the table top to only three contact points.

The assembly strategy began from the centre of the table and radiated outwards, one bar at a time, towards each leg of the table. The whole process took approximately 30 days to complete by one full-time researcher. The inherent stiffness of the growing connected geometries made it easier to propagate the connections in a single direction than to join two completed parts of the system together. To attain the perfect fit that the whole system was designed for, each bar had to be calibrated carefully as they needed to rotate into two nodes simultaneously. At the level of details, the design intends for an almost invisible connection that makes the node and bar seamless. 

The table, which spans a total 3m, is 108kg heavy and is able to withstand a uniform load of 2kN with an average deflection of 6.4mm with no visible signs of buckling.

Through a generative wireframe model, the structural nodes placement was done according to structural performance and optimization considerations using Karamba, avoiding self-intersections in the generation of the intricated tetrahedral network (Figure 6). A total of 84 nodes were generated with a bespoke script refined using T-Splines, and 3D-printed with 420 Stainless Steel using binder jetting technology. The end of each bar and the corresponding tip of each node was threaded for connecting purposes. The connection detail was a difficult technical challenge because of the small section of the bars (6mm), which was resolved through substantial prototyping, trial and error and refinement.

Design Concept: Assistant Professors Carlos Banon and Felix Raspall.
Research Team: Tay Jenn Chong, Aurelia Chan Hui En, Ye Jia Jie, Jona Lim, Anna Toh Hui Ping, Sourabh Maheshwary , Syed Muhd Zabir, Mohd Nazri, Nurin Farishiar Bakthiar
Location: DManD Centre at SUTD. 8 Somapah Road. 487372. Singapore.
Awards: Winner of the German Design Award 2020
                SG Mark Singapore Winner