PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"

PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"

Over the course of two years, students of the design and architecture departments at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf designed a new tubular steel seminar table which is visually related to the iconic Thonet cantilever chair S 43 (design and artistic copyright: Mart Stam). A jury consisting of professors and representatives of Thonet selected the winning design from among designs resulting from seminars and competitions: the PBSA Table by Zohair Zouirech, named after the merger of the two departments into the Peter Behrens School of Arts.

How did the cooperation with Thonet come about? 

The move of the Peter Behrens School of Arts – the design and architecture departments of the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf – into a new university building was the starting point. Since our seminar rooms are already furnished with the Thonet tubular steel cantilever chairs S 43, it made sense to actively take part in designing the new spaces. In the process, the idea was born to design a table, visually related to the S 43 and meeting the special requirements of day-to-day university life, as part of an internal university competition. From the beginning, we wanted to establish contact with Thonet, and the company supported us from the first competition to the implementation of the project.

PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"
PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"

How did you get from design to product?

I cooperated and worked with Thonet, the company BAHSYS GmbH, the model making and prototyping workshop, and the Labor für Form + Raum at Peter Behrens School of Arts for more than a year. Due to the special requirements, I came to the decision to open up the right angle, which was a standard rule during the Bauhaus era. This resulted in the possibility to extend the function of the table by using it as a presentation surface, as well. The material – tubular steel – is also part of the solution since its capacity to be flexible made it possible to clamp the tabletop onto the frame. The letter “a” from the “Futura” font served as inspiration for the formal language of the connecting clip.

PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"
PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"
PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"The letter “a” from the “Futura” font served as inspiration for the formal language of the connecting clip

What were the requirements?

The requirements for the seminar table were clearly prescribed: the clear connection to the S 43 was to be obvious, and the table was to also function as a presentation surface, provide room for four to six people, be durable, and allow for easy conversion and disassembly without tools.   

Which aspects were especially important for you?

Following my occupation with the design process of chair S 43 and the history of Thonet and the Bauhaus, my approach was to further develop and consider this history with a perspective of the future. The goal of my design is to approach the simplicity and quality of simplicity that the S 43 demonstrates, and to reduce the PBSA Table to the essentials. 

PBSA Table: The "Making-Of Story"

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