Where we meet is where these tables exist / Sarah Cook / Independent curator and Ph.D. candidate, Dept of Art, Design and Media, University of Sunderland

Eatock: The form my designs take—what's visual and tangible—is conceptually based around systems. There are no random things brought to it for decoration. Design has always been about form making, but recently designers have been dematerializing their designs something that happened decades ago in art. When I was at school, graphic design became very dense with meaning; it was organic. I felt it necessary to bring in a secondary thing: a conceptual framework, a system. Which doesn't mean there aren't still elements a system can't control that you have to bring knowledge to... it's just that they're outside the system.

Cook: So in adhering to a system you're removing yourself from the decision making, not removing yourself from the aestheticisation of the final product.

Solhaug: Dan uses graphic design with reference to an A4 sheet of paper, and I make architecture in relation to the body. For me, using the four by eight sheet as a system is secondary to object making. The idea of systems is not foreign to me; I appreciate the idea of a template. Most of the architectural things I've worked on have been deeply conceptual in this way. But with design rather than with architecture, it becomes a question of removing subjectivity. Architects do the same as designers but in space... they then try and make space lyrical and even intangible.

Eatock: For Foundation 33, design isn't about one discipline. We may not be furniture specialists but we have become specialists of the mediums we work with. The medium came before the table. I wanted to take a four by eight sheet and cut and glue it together so the surface is the edge. I had no function for it, I didn't know what it meant to make something like that. And then Sam said, ''wow, it would be great to continue that surface down to the floor... how could we do it?"

Cook: So there was always the intention of making something that could be used?

Solhaug: The moment we made legs to hold the surface up, then it became functional. It's as simple as knowing the system: 24 slats in 48 inches. How wide should the legs be? 2 inches. It's pretty logical.

Cook: Do you agree with Ellen Lupton when she writes: ''design's linguistic and social aspects are trivialized or ignored when abstraction is made the primary focus of design thinking''?

Solhaug: Design is definitely stronger when based on context. Which is what I do. Whether found or invented. But to me there is no hierarchy in the process. Design linguistics and social aspects should be part of the abstraction.

Eatock: Sometimes simplicity needs something beyond just that. The difference is that we don't try and make a form from the outset but rather we discuss it as a non-thing, as something that's not physical. It is through the process that it takes a form, and then we develop it until it works conceptually and physically. And that's applied to everything: the design, the furniture, even the space of our studio.

Cook: Then how do your diagrams function on the abstract compositional level, and how do you anticipate your diagrams being read in relation to the finished product?

Solhaug: There's a strong connection in architecture between diagram (plan/section) and the finished spatial work. For me this is the relationship I feel with our diagrams, it is about material, structure, concept, scale, the utilitarian aspect, the process, and drawing. And yes, all those things that occur when one exists (diagram) with the other (object).

Eatock: We're taking things that exist already and changing them—it's inevitable that sooner or later someone is going to do it. This is not my intention; it's only looking back to see how I made them—with them being so systematic, and having so few random elements—that I could imagine someone else doing something very similar if not exactly the same. The idea for the multi-ply would have ended in the sketchbook — it was an idea, not even a diagram. But then Sam added another 50% and it developed into another idea, a diagram and then it became a project.

Solhaug: Where we meet is where these tables exist.