Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges and French designer Alain Gilles have something in common—an uncanny fascination with mirrors. Borges once wrote, “From the far end of the corridor, the mirror was watching us; and we discovered, with the inevitability of discoveries made late at night, that mirrors have something grotesque about them.” Similarly, Gilles owes the concept behind his Collage coffee tables to mirrors: “The inspiration for Collage coffee tables comes from the vivid memory of a strange collection of frameless mirrors, of various sizes and periods. Like a work of art of collage, these fragments of images were taken out of their original context and put back together to generate a new entity with new functions.”
Collage coffee tables. Designed by Alain Gilles. Manufactured by Bonaldo.
Coffee Table Pivots to Form Different Compositions
The resulting piece for Bonaldo, a collection of coffee tables, is less of a collection than you might think: “All except one of the coffee tables are connected.” While the idea of a mirror multiplying objects generated the concept for Collage, the resulting coffee tables have more unity. The central circular table acts as a pivot around which the other three tables gravitate. In keeping with the mirror theme, Gilles added a free coffee table—a reflection of sorts. This last table can be moved “so as to redesign the composition.”
Like a collage, the Collage tables come in various color combinations, each of which achieves a sense of cohesion that betrays its many parts. The tables come in shades of gray with orange; in a combination of gray, green, and smoky lavender; in a duo of orange and white; in a medley of brights; and in a stark white monochrome. I picture Collage in a home library, where the artistic patchwork can mirror the variety of books—each its own title, together a beautiful bibliotheca.
About the Manufacturer: Bonaldo designs and produces an extensive line of furnishings, including chairs, beds, tables, and shelving. The Italian company began in 1936 and “has always been involved in experimentation,” researching materials from tubular metal to cold-pressed polyurethane and propylene. Bonaldo works with well-known international designers such as Ron Arad, Karim Rashid, and Toshiyuki Kita. Steeped in design pride, Bonaldo states, “Output totally reflects Italian tastes and lifestyle, something unique to Italy that cannot be reproduced elsewhere, but which interacts with various international trends in contemporary design.”