Enkei Table

For years the B.E studio never did anything round. We understood how difficult it was to design compelling round forms and how complex they are to build, however, these shapes are essential in creating balance, interest, and texture to a space. Through designing the Enkei Table, we embraced the more challenging aspects of designing a piece of furniture from scratch and created a very special piece for some very special clients.

When making a round table from timber, it’s not as easy as glueing together sheets or blocks of timber together and cutting in a circle. During the process of selecting the right material, it became evident that the pieces needed to be cut into wedge shapes and that these needed to be built up in concentric circles, which required a whole other level of craftsmanship. To achieve this, we worked with the guys at Charles Sanford Woodturning who were able to bring together hundreds of wedges with a mirrored grain direction into a large circle, which was then turned by Charles himself. See the craftsman at work in a video of the process.

When the precision form was realised the accumulation of timber grain was almost like an intricate flower radiating around. While it was very difficult to make the call to cover the grain direction in a dark finish, it needed to be done to create a strong yet quiet piece that could sit comfortably in the room it was designed for. The motivation behind it was to create a piece that had a sense of time where it looks like its developed a patina over years like a Japanese door that is darker at the bottom because the water has accumulated there over time.

We entrusted the remarkable timber creations to Ray at Hawthorne Furniture Polishers to achieve a look that is not only technically difficult but well into the spectrum of art. A dark stain fades across the curving surfaces highlighting the wood grain. The inky, uneven look of the ombre finish creates the illusion time. We say illusion, but that is exactly what it took – time. Ray and his team applied layer after layer of finish to achieve the subtlety of the fade which was followed by layer after layer of polishing. The care and patience of the master craftsman were essential to the process.

The tables were made as an edition of two – one for the clients at the Armadale Residence and one for St Vincents Place. They have been very carefully rolled into place at both locations and are now being enjoyed by the clients.