Bridge Table (2010)

The Bridge Table is one of the engineering highlights of the lab, but also had the toughest hurdles to overcome. After the design for a large sculptural aluminum table was done, I became fascinated by a technique called High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) spray coating. Using this technology we could apply ultra-tough coatings of materials like tungsten carbide to softer lightweight structural materials like aluminum. A polished aluminum surface would have been ruined the first time it was used, but this coating would last forever. The only problem was: nobody had ever done a large mirror-polished flat surface before, especially not in the dimensions of our table. So we had to figure out how to do it ourselves. After days and nights of painstakingly trying to grind the tungsten down to a level where it could be polished, I remember well the point in time where only a week before our deadline it just didn’t change. Frantically, we tried everything we could think of and miraculously that eventually resulted in a strategy that worked – literally the night before it had to be shipped. The result was a dark polished curved surface that almost made the large surface disappear.

The Bridge table is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

(photo credit: Rien Zilvold,  Adriaan de Groot, JL, Carpenters Workshop)