and Sam met while working for the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis,
The Walker is considered by many as one of the predominant modern
art institutions in the world.
Dan was an Intern designer in the design department and Sam
was working on the exhibition crew handling and installing art and
also working for an architect part time.
Dan graduated from the RCA in London, Sam attended Parsons in New
york and Los Angeles.
They became close friends and realised after many discussions,
a relationship developed around their views, ideas, and concepts
of current design and art, which they both felt was lacking for
the most part a seriousness or a general rigour.
design world seemed to be relying on too much form making in general
which each concluded and agreed upon.
one coming from a different discipline (Dan, Graphic Design) and
(Sam, Architecture) these discussions soon went in search of a project
in which to materialise these talks.
Both related to each other's ideas through
each other's discipline, having both a firm belief in the concept
of multi-disciplinary practice, which they both explored in their
A conceptual idea using plywood led Dan to the idea of taking
a four by eight sheet of ply wood and cutting it into strips and
re-orientating them so the surface is now the edge.
Dan; I had no function for it, and didn't
know what it meant to make something like that.
It was Sam who brought in the notion of continuing this surface
to the floor, in effect, bringing it a utilitarian aspect and creating
Sam; It would be great to continue that surface
down to the floor... how could we do it?
It was at this stage that they developed the idea of using
a recursive conceptual process that would limit the table to be
constructed from one sheet with no waste. This was done in effect
to help generate a form, without relying on other more common subjective
A recursive structure is one in which some
of the elements produce the rules that generate the structure itself.
Both generated this idea in a bar they both frequented after work
to discuss ideas late into the night (usually closing time). It
was when they met for lunch the next day, they had found that they
had both stayed up even
later and drawn identical tables (10.2 Coffee Table) using exactly
the same scale. The only difference was that Dan had used the computer,
and Sam had used, as always, graphite and velum to design and draw.
Dan and Sam then embarked on six months of investigating
and developing a construction process that would work structurally.
This is a unique table requiring completely
new techniques in construction. Many mock sections were made to
test different gluing and pressing systems.
After a long search for the best carpenter in Minneapolis, they
hired a professional carpenter to build what they hoped would be
their final proto-type of the table.
About ten carpenters were interviewed, only
a couple expressed an interest in trying something this new. Many
just looked at them in amazement and shook their heads.
This came to a sudden end as the carpenter could not make
this unique construction work. Forging ahead by themselves after
this small set back and realising that they would have to come up
with the solutions themselves, they discovered a unique way of successfully
constructing the first Multiply Table.
Eventually, it was a pure engineering solution
that solved the problem. But it had been a long road with many failures
and people like carpenters who flatly believed it could not be done.
They had at last succeeded to the surprise of many.
They then showed the table to the public to explore exactly
what they had done. It was this showing that convinced them to show
a 10.2 Multi -Ply Coffee Table in Milan at the furniture fair (Salonsattelite
Staff at the Walker, including the directors
and curators, were invited to view the table Dan and Sam had completed
in the Walker conference room during the annual Christmas party.
It was from this they were given huge encouragement to pursue the
table(s) and they express their gratitude to all those that gave
support and allowed late night use of the carpentry shop for months
during this endeavour.