Periodic Table by One and Co for Council Design: Fourty Two Grand of Pure Luxury
Back in Early 2007, Council Design came out with a fabulous new collection they called “Optimism“. At that time, they were just prototyping the periodic table which they showed on their website for a while. But Derek Chen, owner of Council Design, had not yet perfected the table which he had commissioned from design superstars One & Co.
But at this year’s Zona Tortona and ICFF Council Design has introduced the Periodic Table which I had previously described as one of the most extraordinary pieces of furniture made in recent years. There are, of course, many pieces that Council makes well. But for some reason, the Periodic Table strikes a chord. It’s basically a coffee table made of four large pieces of douglas fir which are coated in silver and given a patina within the grain of the wood. The concept sounds simple enough, but the process to make the table is difficult and the result is astounding.
What might be more astounding is the price. I recently noticed that the piece is on sale at the design shop Matter for $42,000. The first reaction when I saw the price was my jaw dropped. The second reaction was that the price makes sense. This piece falls in line with a level of craft and years of contemplation that is only seen in the design work of such designers as Marc Newson or Konstantine Grcic. The Periodic Table, for me, really lifts the spirit of American furniture design and is in complete contradiction to Alice Rawsthorn’s March New York Times article “Dearth of a Nation“. The design freshness and talent is here, right now, in America. When it comes to new American furniture design, maybe the Americans are just a bit more modest than Europeans. I certainly concur with Ms. Rawsthorn’s re-evaluation of design education. She suggests a new emphasis on subjects such as engineering, but let’s not forget about marketing. One thing she left out of the discussion is that Europeans are simply more skilled at tooting their own horns. I like this, of course. It makes my job easier to find this special design talent.