I often tease the Dutch (though I always do it with love and a sense of humor). Still, every joke has an underlying truth, and I find that a lot of wildly inventive and whimsical products come from The Netherlands. When I see a product, if I can’t imagine how the designer ever envisioned such an object, I usually bet it originated in that most unique country bordering the North Sea.
Watertable. Designed by Sophie Mensen.
The Table That Turns Into a Sink
Last October, as part of a senior thesis, an unusual table/sink was exhibited during Dutch Design Week. The item in question, called Watertable, is the brainchild of Sophie Mensen. At first glance, Watertable simply looks like a regular, rectangular table oddly equipped with a spout. But it’s more than meets the eye: “When standing in front of the faucet a basin is created regardless of the amount of water used. The resilient sheet allows this basin to grow steadily larger by its ever-changing volume creating a physical volume which can be observed as it grows and diminishes. A small hole directly under the faucet drains the water slowly away, allowing the sink to return to a flat surface awaiting to be filled again.”
Measuring 210 x 60 x 90 cm (approximately 82 x 24 x 35 inches), Watertable is a nicely sized vanity designed for “washing oneself in an exclusive semi-public area.” The concept behind Mensen’s creation is smart: Watertable comments on the nature of water, specifically its formlessness—“a finite thing having an infinite range of appearance or expressions because of its inseparable relationship to other things.” The notion of Watertable is magical, since the water creates a basin seemingly out of a solid surface, making us question the nature of reality. Watertable is modern-day alchemy.