Tables represent changes in cooking and eating habits, and these changes are reflected in design. One manifestation of less structured dining patterns, according to Philippe Starck, is a tendency towards higher table heights, with the standard 72cm table increasingly being replaced in favour of the 1.4m table. This bar – or worktop – height table is more suited to informal dining and the comings and goings of different people.
SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills - Designed by Philippe Starck
“They [the younger generation] want movement. That’s why this 72cm table more and more disappears, goes to 1.4 metres, meaning it’s bar height…this height is more dynamic. It’s a big change, structural change, in the way you eat longer or faster and how that changes design.”
Starck has put this thinking into practice at two recent hotels – the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills and the Palazzina Grassi in Venice, both of which feature dining rooms with bar-height tables, the latter having a 7m communal table as its centrepiece.
Palazzia Grassi Designed by Philippe Starck
The long, communal table has returned to favour, and is now used not only for dining but for other activities such as work and homework, reading, watching TV as well as food preparation. In 2008, radical Dutch architects UNStudio pushed the concept to the extreme when they presented The World’s Longest Table For All Cultures at the imm cologne furniture show in Cologne, Germany. This 55m-long multifunctional table was designed to highlight the way the kitchen has today become a place for a wide variety of activities:
“The present-day kitchen is seen as a place of numerous activities, which go beyond the traditional of a kitchen as a purely place for the preparation of food…But even more the kitchen is a space for different types of social gatherings. The kitchen is the scene of family get-togethers, friends socializing, work-related activities, day-to-day dining, formal entertaining, late-night snacks, Sunday brunches, hurried breakfasts and so on.” UNStudio, architects
Design is demonstrating the need for tables to be able to adapt to the needs of the whole family, be it teenagers who want to ‘perch’ to eat before rushing out again, to those to like to eat and talk in a leisurely way at a dinner party. To read more about how table design for communal eating is experiencing resurgence take a look at our Table design trends – dinner parties post.
How do your family like to eat – round a formal dining table or at a bar-style kitchen island? Does your kitchen meet the needs of your family? Scholtès is really interested in your views on table heights - please share your views.
This article is from the Food and Design report written by Dezeen on behalf of Scholtès that look into the cross-pollination of the worlds of food and design.