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The ’T’ABLE | Daniel Gillen

The ‘T’able is a unique representation of the mountainous topographies in which specialty teas are produced.  Tea is known for its health benefits and it’s ability to rebuild damaged cells in the human body while the industrialization of tea production removes and erodes our planets natural landscape.  Mans use of the land supports economic growth, like the pixelated mining of the ‘T’ables’ landscape supports its surface.  The customary act of preparing and drinking Chinese Tea called Chayi (“Art of Tea”) involves a cleansing ritual begun by pouring out the first brew and letting it wash over cups and utensils at the table.  As Tea rains on the mountainscape the tables terraced stream collects and channels runoff.  The iconic ‘T’able is a catalyst for discussion; a place for sharing of ideas, dreams, and Tea, with family and friends, loved ones, even a perfect stranger.  While enjoying your Tea you can reflect on both the serenity of nature as well as how we can positively impact it.  Proceeds from each ‘T’able sold go directly to local Tea farmers and to preserving their ecological landscapes.

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen, Xu Feng, Colby Suter, and Hayden Martis


‘T’ is designed as two complimentary systems. The mountainscape or ‘Natural’ system is generated using

parametric modeling tools to simulate Hydro Dynamic properties and characteristics.  Fluid flows collide with local topographies mapped on the ‘T’able surface creating ‘waves’.  By factoring in mass, momentum, energy conservation and topographic volume each mountainscape is representative of your individual Tea specific geographic location. Pixel Erosion or ‘Human’ system is generated by first dividing the ‘T’able in an equal grid. The grid is extruded in the Z axis and a curve is used to define an erosion zone.  The height of the ‘T’able is variable and dependent on the depth of erosion. This curve is unlimited in its variation and is algorithmically defined to provide optimized structural support.  The new age of design is Mass Customization.  Consumers are now abandoning mass replicated products in favor of specific and unique designs tailored directly to them.  ‘T’able design utilizes collaborative/adaptive customization delivering personalized products with production costs at near mass production economies.  Each ‘T’able is systemically individualized for you.


Arch2O-'T'able_Daniel Gillen_3D model_3-003

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen, Xu Feng, Colby Suter, and Hayden Martis

China is the world’s largest market for Tea consumption and production with 1.3 Billion Tea consumers.

In modern China, virtually every dwelling, even the most basic has a set of tea implements for brewing and drinking a cup of tea.Total tea consumption in China increased by over 25% since 2009, making it the largest in the world.  In China the average person consumes 400 cups of tea a year.  Paired with an expanding GDP, and an increase in disposable income unique ‘T’ experiences are more desired than ever.

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen

Courtesy of Daniel Gillen, Xu Feng, Colby Suter, and Hayden Martis

‘T’ables are made of a single sheet of 2mm stainless steel and contain no joints, welds, clips, or fasteners.  Slumping/Stamping: Final designed surfaces are digitally contoured and milled from flat pack material in sections.  Each section relates to the pixel dimension and also corresponds to the width of standard off the shelf materials.  50% of sections require a standard 3axis CNC mill and 50% require a 5axis mill.  Mold sections are then assembled into a ‘positive’ and similar to acrylic vacuum forming the stainless steel sheet is heated and slumped to the mold.  If slumping is not available a positive and negative mold are made and the metal can be pressed or stamped between the two.  Large scale industrial and reconfigurable pin press machines are by far the most efficient and cost effective but currently do not offer the size or resolution necessary for ’T’ables.  In order to reduce mould waste and fabrication time an alternative process is ‘Lost-Wax Casting’.  A process where metal is poured into re-usable wax filled molds.

Team: Daniel Gillen, Xu Feng, Colby Suter, and Hayden Martis

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