For years, the table in my family's garden had been a spool top fixed on a tree stump. Sun and rain got the better of the wood while the stump’s roots were disintegrated by insects. The time for a new table had came. I had long wanted to try pouring concrete including stones that I would select in order to reveal them by grinding the surface afterward.
After buying the proper diamond grinding discs I started trying to cut random stones. Meanwhile I found on the internet the true master of this discipline: Felix Muhrhofer. His work, beyond its beauty, gave me an idea of what was possible.
After gathering a bunch of different stones available in the bed of the Drac river next to my house, I started trying to split them. This taught me a lot; the first lesson, which sounds obvious is that stones often break. The quality of the tools (grinder and discs) is such that they go through stones, even hard ones like granite and marble, incredibly easily. I also spent a lot of time cutting down reclaimed material into pieces, mainly brass and copper. The rest of the work was aesthetic choices that I had to make since I gathered more materials than needed. For example, I broke down blue glass bottles that I decided to leave aside
The pouring was both physical (nearly 150 kilograms of materials), hectic (concrete sets fairly quickly) and stressful since it was my first time pouring such a complex mix. After several days grinding the surface of the released solid with finer grain abrasive at each time, the pattern came to life.
Since the table top is so heavy, steel would be the only material passing the test of time when it comes to the footing. Also, steel would rust overtime matching the reclaimed spool border as if they had always have been part of the same entity. To contrast the round shape of the table top, I decided to go for an orthogonal frame. The section of the square tubes (4,5 centimeter) matches the width of the spool external metal profile . Also, the placing of the feet on the exterior of the table top gives the users four possibilities for placing a parasol. Thus a trivial detail ends up being a practical solution for a common problem (providing shade at the right spot).
In the end the table top is a poetic peace of craft that carries a lot of meaning. Each individual sees what his imagination lets him perceive ; for some it is medical sections of body part, for others it is animals footprints, or even ink blots like the famous Rorschach psychological test.
SPOOL TERRAZZO TABLE
Design & construction / 2019
168 rue Georges Maeder, 38170 Seyssinet, France
Credits: Nicolas Pabion (welding by Mohamed Zaouiri)