The Table of Elements is a reception desk designed for MAD, the Brussels fashion and design platform, commissioned for their venue Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains in Brussels.

 

The desk is designed to reflect the ambitions of the institution and to fulfil the practical needs required from this piece of furniture in this unique venue. The MAD hosts a variety of activities throughout the year; from talks and conferences to sales, exhibitions and fashion shows. The reception desk being the converging point for all those events, defined the need for a flexible piece of furniture allowing it to be an office desk during calm weekdays, a till during sales or an information point during exhibitions or other temporary events. Therefore, several elements of the desk are detachable, re-combinable and mobile for the object to fulfil a manifold of applications.

The desk is constructed of various parts, elements and modules. Two main bodies offer the possibility to either comfortably work on office tasks from nine-to-five or receive visitors on eye-height when desired at a higher desk. Physically impaired visitors are received at the lower desk. The desk surfaces can be configured in the space freely, hence the use of wheels.

Mobile screens allow to create borders and intimacy for the people working in this semi-public environment. They can be placed as desired and used completely independently.

Image courtesy MAD

Special attention is paid to the durability of the materials. Many of them find their origin in second cycles: marble from the Brussels Gare du Nord, refrigerator waste glass as a small desk screen, steel beams salvaged from construction waste, a paper weight repurposed from Val St. Lambert glass, recycled textile board Really from Kvadrat to form a screen… to name a few. The desk surfaces were finished with Forbo linoleum, a natural and user-friendly material. All materials are treated such as not to affect their further reuse or recycling, meaning no synthetic lacquers or disturbing finishes, but nonetheless be maintenance friendly

A detailed colour analysis of the premises was conducted, which led to the colour choice and the materials used. The architects conceived the building using a range of white tones. Respect to this intention was paid through a colour lineage as a connecting element, integrating the desk in a visible but harmonious manner.

 

The conscious combination of function, material and colour choices represent the multiple facets of the MAD and form the innovative gestalt of the reception desk.

Photography by Franziska Krieck

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