Generative Processes in Architecture and Urbanism

FLOAT Coffeetable

Case study project resulting from a workshop with the PG Group in Johannesburg, the biggest glass producer in South Africa. This coffeetable design is generated through a rule-based digital workflow that defines a range of possible table dimensions, matched to the sheet sizes of the material out of which the components for the table are cut.

The formal language is based on both the nesting strategy of the pieces for CNC cutting with minimal waste, and the structural properties of the assembly using a minimum number of fixings to turn the layered structure into a rigid truss.

This case study design is based on the dimensions of sheet sizes and machinery of the specific company involved, which was interested in testing out new combinations of their digital printing, cutting and thermal hardening equipment.

A wooden mock-up of the table was made using 6mm recycled birch plywood, testing mechanical fixings, assembly order and method, and structural behaviour. As this mock-up is produced with a CNC machine with a smaller bed size the material use is less economical, however the nesting of the ribs and overlapping of the machining toolpaths is showing clearly.

The final table will have different fixings and the plywood will be replaced with 6mm float glass, allowing to see the geometry of the layered ribs from all viewing angles.