Table, seating and shelving for a Valletta townhouse
Steel, timber and powder coating
picture credits Julian Vassallo
In creating Liwi, sculptor and exhibition designer Tom Van Malderen addresses the delicate balance of the sculptural and the social in a furniture series that blends pragmatic, contextual, and scenographic considerations.
The introduction of playful bends and curves to a large table unit breaks with the formality of traditional dining spaces, opening up the possibility for multiple uses and different answers to the question: “Who is at the head of the table?” Clean, white, meandering lines offer users a more dynamic interaction with each other and the room – making the most of stunning skyline and harbour views.
With versatile daily usage at the heart of its design, Liwi’s elegant twists and turns offer segments to be variously utilised as a home studio, a reading area or an intimate meeting and eating corner. Mirrored by a set of easy-to-move-around one and two-seater benches, the stage is set for a flexible environment, where shifting interactions and changing micro-social events can unfold whether the client is on her own, meeting a few or entertaining a large crowd.
To retain playfulness and lightness structurally, the weight and span of the 3.3m long table rests on a forest of thin steel legs and flanges. Although appearing random, all supporting elements are set out on a grid to provide twelve clear seating ‘pockets’ for legs and knees. Similar to the table legs fragmenting the floor space, the complimentary shelving element is designed with gentle twists to find a balance between structural stability, usability and sculptural qualities. As a subtle uniting detail, edged profiles along the seating and shelving provide additional strength to the shelves and ease when moving the benches around.
With a minimum of ingredients, Liwi tells multiple stories, reaches out in space and maximises its users’ experiences.