Details and Materials

While I was developing my table mechanism, I was inspired by vintage crank tables. These tables were originally made of cast iron and solid wood which are not ideal materials for a commercial setting as they can be heavy and expensive. I was still inspired by the shapes, however, and decided to incorporate that detailing into the leg design, but changing the form and adding a large bolt like the ones seen here:

Pin on Cool Etsy Stuff
IndustriaLux Crank Table (Vintage Industrial, 2021)

Leg Material

Instead of cast iron, however, cast aluminum will be better, and can still produce a blackened colour by using black oxide (EPI, 2021). High-pressure aluminum die-casting will produce the best results. With this method there are no traditional joints such as welding or those requiring fastening, the alloy strength is responsible for the strength of the part as there are no weak spots due to joints. This method also has high accuracy and will mean the details will come out better than with injection moulding (RD Castings Ltd, 2021). Aluminum is also lightweight, making it ideal for shipping (better for the environmental impact) and also cost. There will need to be some weights added to the core of the leg components to ensure stability.

Table Top Material

The tabletops in most commercial office spaces are made of laminate and are preferable over a solid wood or wood veneer desk. I know this from my experience working in the commercial office industry and Office Interiors recommend this selection as well “Choosing a laminate finish will provide greater protection against scratching, chipping, and other blemishes while also keeping costs down. This makes laminate desks ideal for workstations and other desks that get a lot of use but may not be focal points in an office.” (Office Interiors, 2021)

Rendering of Table Top Detail

Laminates these days are created with such a high standard they look just like real hardwood tops. I selected a dark style large grain to be in keeping with the original crank table-inspired aesthetic. Also, many tables in offices are made of a plain white veneer, but this can get a bit stark and bland overall, especially when people aren’t looking to be in the same old office spaces post-pandemic.

Often laminated desks have a laminated trim option, or a rubber or other plastic-type material. Instead of this I went with aluminum trim with added rivet detailing to mimic a vintage style but in a modern way. This will also protect the edge of the workshop from getting damaged in a high-traffic environment. The crank handle would be made of plastic and could be replaced with an electric motor.

I imagine the wheels that make up the crank would be highlighted in a golden finish to complement the wood but also stand out. In order to see through to the mechanism, I have included an inset toughened glass panel that would lie flush to the tabletop. Clear toughened glass has higher iron content and so appears more ‘green’ than clear (Table Glass Online, 2021), and I would also enhance it visually with a slight sandblasting effect.

Chair & Board Materials

My materials selections were heavily influenced by this idea of creating a more homely funky feeling than current standard office furniture has. I selected a lighter-coloured wooden laminate for the chair frame, reinforced with the aluminum framework and cross supports. This will give the right balance of a sturdy-feeling chair but not too heavy to move. I also discussed making the chair in the black finish to match the table with interviewee Samantha, but we both agreed it would be too much black in one space and the wooden aesthetic was approved.

We learned about colour in the Creative Lighting modules and selected a navy blue commercial grade fabric for the chair and a green colour for the board. These colours are natural and considered neutral but also are more interesting than a black or beige. Customers would be able to select their own colours of course.

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EPI, 2021. Blackening Processes for Aluminum [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 29 April 2021]

RD Castings Ltd, 2021. Aluminium High Pressure Die Casting (HPDC) [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 29 April 2021]

Table Glass Online, 2021. Glass Table Tops | A Complete Guide [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 29 April 2021]

Office Interiors, 2021. Laminate vs Wood Veneer: What’s the Difference & Which Should You Use? [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 29 April 2021]

Vintage Industrial, 2021. IndustriaLux Crank Table [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 29 April 2021]