Style That Grows on Trees: Shrub-Inspired Steel Tables


These simple dining and side tables all share a gracefully natural aesthetic that makes them appear almost as though they were grown rather than made. According to Chinese designer Zhili Liu, this connection to the brilliant designs of nature is both intentional and beneficial.

The Shrub table series features very thin tabletops with thin steel rods forming the “branches” on which the tops sit. These branches help to spread out the stress of the tabletops, giving a wide distribution of force rather than four small points of force as in a regular four-legged table.

Scattered across the top are exposed sunken screws, indicating where each branch is attached to the aluminum sheet. The screws also become decorative in this context, dotting the surfaces of the tables with unexpected splashes of both color and texture.

According to the designer, this series reverses the usual concept of Chinese craftsmanship (high volume, low quality) and presents a product that uses traditional techniques to make something that is lovely, useful, high quality and made with easily sourced materials.

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