Creativity’s on the table at design show

Peter Harrison’s Oahu table is so named because he designed it for a client in Hawaii.

NEW YORK — When you think “table,” you’re likely to imagine a set of four legs and a top.

When Peter Harrison thinks “table,” he conjures up all kinds of unusual versions. For instance, instead of hiding the structural connections in his tables the way it’s typically done, he brings them center stage. Steel cables, rods and fasteners become parts of the design.

“I find these elements give life to my pieces,” says the furniture designer, from Middle Grove, New York.

At his booth at this spring’s Architectural Digest Design Show here, Harrison had a striking dining table on display called Oahu: a glass circle perched on a truss of sapele (an African heartwood) legs, joined together with aluminum brackets and steel bolts. Some of his other tables resemble bridge spans, with sinews of aluminum cabling suspended between concrete, wood or acrylic struts. (www.peterharrison.com)

Tables were a highlight at the show, held in March in New York. It was a venue for both established and emerging furniture designers from North America and around the world.

Designer Kino Guerin of Melbourne, Quebec, has been experimenting for the last 10 years with a vacuum lamination process. He combines industrial-grade plywood with rare woods and veneers to craft fluid, elegant tables. The Nebula table was inspired by a curled paper ribbon. Walnut and sweet gum veneers curved into the aptly named Toboggan. (www.kinoguerin.com)

Designers Michael Bell of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Susan Zelouf of New York have a studio in an old chocolate factory in Dublin. They work with unusual woods like koto, red birch, black Bolivar and Makassar ebony, embedding surprising elements into their tables like koi fish or monarch butterflies. (www.zeloufandbell.com)

ReSAWN Timber of Telford, Pennsylvania, showed a nice example of their Charred collection: The walnut table had been blackened using an ancient Japanese technique called shou sugi ban. The process involves charring the wood, misting it with water before it’s cooled, and then brushing, sealing or staining it. The charcoal preserves the wood while accentuating the natural grain. (www.resawntimberco.com)

KGBL’s Pintor black walnut coffee table was another standout, with chamfered edges, brass inlay and a top of glass that’s available in jewel tones like topaz and aquamarine.

The Terranova coffee table’s top was hewn from a single block of marble, set on a bronze base. And the Holyfield side table was made using an old French technique that uses straw instead of wood strips to craft the marquetry’s veneer. The sexy little table perches on shapely bronze legs and has an interior storage niche clad in sassy tomato red. (www.kgblnyc.com)