2013 // Birch plywood.
CAF is a coffee table that quickly collapses into a 4-inch tall storage unit when it needs to be transported. It’s made from solid wood without any fasteners, using custom interlocking joints that lock firmly to hold it in place. These simple joints slide apart, allowing the legs to become drawers for stowage.
The original prototypes are in private collections.
The design was based on ethnographic research at IKEA done during thesis work at Stanford’s d.School with Kevin McElroy and Heather Kerrick. During one interview, a couple shared a common theme – that furniture is a transitory and disposable part of many modern lives. Their oldest piece of furniture was a set of cheap plastic drawers that survived the previous move simply because they were usefully packed full of stuff.
I was inspired by this kernel of their experience to design a piece from quality, solid wood that could be similarly useful during transitory moments when lots of furniture gets trashed, left behind, or sold on Craigslist. By creating a simple joint that lets the legs become drawers, CAF can pack flat into a 4-foot long set of three drawers that are just 4 inches tall. This way, the piece is durable enough to last for years, and useful enough to contribute to every move.
Detailed instructions for making CAF are available on Instructables.