6 November 2021

Launch of Friction

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Heatherwick Studio reveals its latest iconic designed table, The Friction Table at Design Miami in Shanghai. Clad in hand-made natural red leather with precision engineered metal the combination creates an object which celebrates the union of art and science.

The legs transition into the underside of the table seamlessly and hover above the floor with wheels which are recessed within. The table is finished by hand in London, to ensure it will continue to look beautiful for years to come.

The result of years of research and development at Heatherwick Studios, the table construction represents the utmost precision and engineering, whilst the finishing process is much like traditional, hand-crafted furniture. 

The Friction table is the result of research by Heatherwick Studio into the way furniture can adapt to different spaces and needs. In 2004, the studio had an idea for a carpet that could dramatically change its proportions through the use of a pivot mechanism. Seeing the prototype gave the studio the idea for an expanding table as the ultimate expression of the idea.  


The Friction Table:

  • The design combines precision manufacturing with soulful materiality. Produced in collaboration with a team of makers using techniques developed in robotics and aerospace, as well as traditional expert hand-crafting processes, it can transform from a smooth circle of 1.8 metres in diameter, able to seat eight, into an ellipse over 4 metres long. 
  • The 45 slats that form the table top are individually machined in two parts. 193 pivot points are precisely placed and pinned together by hand and calibrated to ensure it is perfectly level, balanced and can achieve a smooth opening movement. The table is made from aerospace grade polished aluminium and clad in a leather by Bill Amberg Studio.
  • The parts are cut from 6082 grade aluminium on a Japanese made Mazmak machine used in the aerospace industry, which provides the incredible tolerance required for the smooth movement of the table. The movement is ensured by high performance polymer bearings which will allow the mechanism to glide across itself effortlessly.


This table is the culmination of a 16 year exploration into the lattice mechanism and will be the first edition in these materials. 


Each table is from an edition of 12 which are signed in numbers by Thomas Heatherwick and can be purchased directly via the design studio P.O.A and made to order. The Friction Table will be showcased at Design Miami Podium Shanghai in partnership with Made in House from 6 -14 November in Shanghai.