16 April 2015


Text: Franziska Porsch

In mechanical tension, pushing and pulling are the two opposing forces that determine the effect that a force exerts on a particular surface – that is whether it moves in its direction or away from it. Outside physics, both are principles that mostly go unnoticed when we encounter them in everyday life, and ensure that things hold together and remain stable. Transferring these basic mechanisms to product design in a simple and visible way offers a number of benefits: thanks to various innovations, the structure and handling become more easily comprehensible for users, the connections between them are both reversible and versatile, and they therefore allow their functions to be tailored to the individual and made more sustainable.


The Swiss designer, architect and interior designer Jürg Bally gave the first workable prototype of the S.T. Table to his wife, Ica, in 1950. This featured the same characteristics as the table that was mass produced between 1954 and 1996: three organically shaped, crossed legs, with a moveable pivot hinge and a mechanism mounted under the table top that allowed the height of the table to be steplessly adjusted.

In 2014 the Swiss table and chair manufacturer Horgenglarus brought out a more advanced version of the iconic table, perfected by the engineer and designer Daniel Hunziker, under the name Ess.tee.tisch.

The mechanism can be operated easily by a lever. If the lever is pressed, the table can be raised or lowered to a height of between 42 and 74 centimetres. When the lever is released, the mechanism locks onto one of ten steps. As a result, the table, which has a diameter of 95 centimetres, can be used either as a side table or as a dining table. It is produced in natural black walnut or black-stained ash that can be combined with linoleum lamination in 20 different colours.


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