Topographic Tables: 12 Terrain-Inspired Furniture Designs

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Meandering rivers, icebergs and a deep blue abyss are invoked in layers of blue-green glass, burled wood and cast concrete and translated into tables. Ranging from self-taught artists crafting each piece by hand to high-end designers using precision laser-cutting machinery, these three sculptors and furniture makers take inspiration from the natural world to make practical pieces that mimic topography.

River Collection by Greg Klassen

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The naturally wavy edges of discarded lumber, considered too imperfect for standard usage in construction and furniture, are aligned just right and joined with strips of pale blue-green glass to become watery landscapes.

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Taking inspiration from the beautiful natural scenery of his home in the Pacific Northwest, theologist-turned-furniture-maker Greg Klassen sources his wood at construction sites and from fallen trees in the forest. “I Love the idea of taken a discarded tree and giving it a new life,” he says.

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“The collection is inspired by the exciting edges and vivid grains found in the trees sustainably taken from the banks of the Nooksack River that twists below my studio.”

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Designs include the striking River Console, with its undulating ribbon of water, the Pond Table carved from a massive maple trunk, and Folded River, an asymmetrical L-shaped design in which the glass trails down one side.