Robert Haslbeck’s Suitcase Table

Robert Haslbeck’s Suitcase Table (or “under-koffer” for those who like a good dose of authentic Germanic gloom) joins the ranks of such 3rings favorites as Casulo’s Life in a Box, James Dieter’s Origami Chair, and Ismail Özalbayrak’s Wireframe Table. Each of these pieces prizes portability over ponderousness, ease of assembly and transport over a look of heavy permanence, and the Suitcase Table is no different.

Suitcase Table. Designed by Robert Haslbeck.

Modeled after the look of a wallpaper pasting table, Haslbeck’s piece is designed for convenience, folding up, as it does, with a simple flick of the wrist and the accordant accordion action of the aluminum shaft undercarriage. The table is hinged in the middle so it essentially collapses in on itself (somewhat like the legs of an ironing board). The table top is also slightly wider in the middle (forming the shape of a pair of proximal twin trapezoids), so when it’s closed it can be simply be flipped on end to resemble vintage baggage. The “handle” is formed by the supportive shafts that come together and protrude slightly in the closed position.



Though the piece doesn’t quite have the same far-flung utilitarian scope as Life in a Box–which is essentially a whole room packed into the space of a steamer trunk–it manages to be functional and fun at once, a notion that returns me to the German name, at which I poked a bit of fun in the first sentence. This is only because “under-koffer” sounds like such a downer. In onomatapoiec terms, the sonorous qualities of the word are decidedly downcast, evoking gray skies, drear, and bodily demise (I can’t help but read it as “undertaker”). All of this contrasts markedly with the look and spirit of the piece, which is definitely whimsical, somewhat cartoonish, and joyously strange. I see it as an apt accessory for an assortment of cultural rapscallions, from Willy Wonka to the Mad hatter, from Pee Wee Herman to The Cat in the Hat–anyone of whom could use it to accommodate an unending parade of presto-chango gimmickry. Given the dual nature of “under-koffer,” this could encompass everything from an impromptu operating table to a quick round of ping pong.

As concerns the real world, however, Suitcase Table is a clever and functional piece of portable furniture. And in contrast to the ostensible evocations of, and consequent emotional reactions to, the German name, it makes me very happy.

Via Design Boom.

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