This Razor-Thin Table Inspired an Otherworldly Choreography Routine

The gravity-defying Surface Table, designed by Terence Woodgate and John Barnard for Established & Sons, makes its stateside debut in Los Angeles—and inspires a dance performance in the process.

Photography by Benjamin Carter Grimes.

In 2008, industrial designer Terence Woodgate joined forces with Formula 1 racing car mastermind John Barnard to launch the Surface Table through Established & Sons. Using state-of-the-art carbon fiber technology, the 20-foot-long table seems to defy physics—its razor-thin surface, measuring four millimeters, can easily support the weight of the Formula 1 racing cars that inspired it. Polyurethane lacquer finish—similar to the paint used on vehicles—lends its smooth, ethereal surface a mirror-like sheen.

Despite captivating the international design circuit when it launched, the Surface Table was never shown stateside. Fast forward ten years, however, and Los Angeles design gallery Twentieth is giving the limited-edition work a new home among an impressive lineup of sexy-noir pieces such as Henzel Studio‘s silk rug and a sculptural acrylic chair by Sami Hayek, each in glimmering shades of black that could have come straight from the stratosphere.  

Photography by Benjamin Carter Grimes.

The table’s otherworldliness resonated with video artist David Van Eyssen, whose head immediately went to the clouds. “I was struck by the table’s startlingly thin profile, which suggests an endless horizon provoking images of a barren planet—a clean slate on which life could begin again,” he muses. Thus, his latest project was born.

Titled Surface (no relation to this inimitable media brand), the video follows the journey of dancers Candace Cane, Lauren Avon, and Ghislain Grellier as they freely evolve on and under the table. Backdropping the trio is Mattia Biagi’s melting tar chandelier and large-scale photographic prints by Daniele Albright. And much like the Twentieth pieces starring in the video, cosmic references take center stage. Lunar imagery from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio and footage of the first-ever video recording from Mars is overlaid, as are sounds of Martian winds captured by the Insight rover. “I suggested that we think about the movement of Insight as it comes to life after landing on alien soil,” says Van Eyssen. “Humans are emulating a machine that, with its outstretched armature and cameras for eyes, emulates humans.”

Surface, along with the table that inspired it, will display at Twentieth until Feb. 8. Not in Los Angeles? Check out exclusive footage of the performance above.

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