How NY Designer Jessica Banks Created a Magical Coffee Table

“Yeah, I can make tables float.”

Aside from magicians, not many people can make claims like this and deliver.

Jessica Banks can.

She's a furniture designer ... who studied robotics at MIT. She makes coffee tables ... that float on a cushion of magnetic force. She regards the Terminator as a marvel of engineering, first and foremost.

And she knows that in order to create the sort of holy-sh*t-where-did-you-get-that pieces that her company Rock Paper Robot is known for, you've got to eliminate the word “shortcut” from your vocabulary.

Which is why we sat down with her for the first installment of Worth the Wait, a new video series exploring the Art of Beautiful Inefficiency in partnership with our friends at Tequila Avión.

Read on.

 

THE FLOAT TABLE

How NY Designer Jessica Banks Created a Magical Coffee Table

 

A series of wooden cubes containing precisely calibrated magnetic discs, each repelling its neighbors and tethered together via steel cables to create a pliable, “floating” surface. Sounds complicated. It is. Also the coolest damn coffee table we’ve ever laid eyes on.

THE OLLIE TABLE

How NY Designer Jessica Banks Created a Magical Coffee Table

A handy space-saving surface for those with less-than-gargantuan dwellings or folks who, in the words of Banks, “just want to have a little extra real estate.” Stores flat on the wall, extending down and out on demand to any length up to six feet. Slats are interchangeable, so the surface is completely customizable. What’s more: when extended, no evidence of the table remains on the wall.

TEQUILA AVIÓN... BEAUTIFULLY INEFFICIENT

So you want to get acquainted with the aroma and taste of freshly roasted agave. You want something revelatory. A tequila that’s been elevated to an art, so to speak. Spoiler alert: that kind of tequila requires patience. Or rather, a tequila maker who boasts said patience. Like the folks at Tequila Avión, whose agave takes nearly a decade to reach maturity. It's hand-harvested in the traditional method, slow-roasted and placed into small-batch pot stills for distillation before being filtered via a technique that takes up to 10 times longer than other tequilas while ensuring the rich agave flavor is preserved. Long story short: it's inefficient. But beautifully so.

THE OLLIE CHAIR

How NY Designer Jessica Banks Created a Magical Coffee Table

With an amazing space-saving table must come the amazing space-saving chair. Enter Banks & Co.’s latest design: gorgeous wood-slatted seats that fold completely flat at the pull of a string. Shouldn’t be too long till there’s an entire drill team dedicated to these things.

THE GLEAM CHANDELIER

How NY Designer Jessica Banks Created a Magical Coffee Table

The first in a line of many robotic chandeliers, gleam can open and close in response to the environment to create dynamic yet subtle lightscapes. Bonus: it makes for a helluva conversation starter at your next dinner party.

 


All images Copyright RPR 2014-2015. Float table Image by Robert Clark, Ten Ton Studio 

WORTH THE WAIT: EPISODE THREE




Austin’s finest teach us the art of the elevated backyard BBQ

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WORTH THE WAIT: EPISODE TWO




Tequila impresario Ken Austin on the art of inefficiency

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