Thomas is a friend with who I share a passion for slackline and photography. He recently moved into a new place but his previous apartment had a small living area and he wanted to have a coffee table that could turn into a dining table in order to host dinners. Needless to say it piqued my interest. I always like a good challenge!

At first, I thought I would find some hardware kit and build the table around it. Something fancy that would hydraulically lift and transform the table, with extensions popping from the sides. Well that would have been nice, but that didn't pass the reality check. I didn't find anything to help me kickstart the project. I thought of designing the mechanism from scratch but that would have been an entirely different project that I didn’t feel confident undertaking.

It's just an extra constraint and that's a good news to me! I made amongst my best work under heavy constraints: sometimes thanks to limited time, sometimes thanks to an over simplistic camera with nothing to configure, sometimes thanks to working with only what's available at hand... This time, I needed build a table with a simple mechanism relying only on commonly available hardware. That's how we settled on the following concept:

Click the animation to play/pause

The legs of the coffee table turn into table extensions when lifted into the dining position, allowing for 6 people to sit comfortably. The legs of the dining table turn into an ornamental and stabilizing element when it is in the lower position. And the only hardware needed is 6 heavy duty hinges. Here is a closer look at the hinge motion and how the 45 degree bevels come together to make a flat surface:

Click the animation to play/pause

I love those 45-degree bevels look on the side of the table. And of course, I built the entire table from a single pannel of walnut. When the table is in the upper position, the grain of the wood match on the entire length of the table.

This is the project I'm the most proud of so far. Until I finally assembled it, I was (a little) stressed and unsure it would work as expected. Actually, I likely spent as much time thinking and hesitating as I did building the table. In the end, this is a great combination of function and aesthetics. If you like this project or have one in mind, feel free to send me a message.

Behind the scenes

I learned a lot doing this build. I'm also getting more and more into video editing. If you are curious about how such a project comes to life, this is my modest attempt to put together all the clips I captured during the project: