Howe’s Tutor Table is a Fitting Tribute to a Design Icon
As long as I’ve been doing this (going strong on five years, but that’s 35 years in Internet time), every so often I still encounter gaps in my historical design lexicon. Like today, for instance, when I first became aware of the iconic 40/4 Chair by David Rowland. Rowland’s chair was renowned in its time (designed in the late 50s but not in production until 1963) for its slim, space-saving stackability, and so named because one could stack 40 chairs in a mere four feet of height. Rowland died in 2010, but designer John Bollen recently created a fitting tribute—the one-person Tutor Table.
Tutor Table. Designed by John Bollen. Manufactured by Howe.
John Bollen’s Tutor Turns Chair Into Table
Following a similar design imperative to Rowland’s, Bollen set out to create a minimalistic piece with maximum functionality. And though it doesn’t have the same sort of mathematical cache as the clever 40/4, the Tutor Table effortlessly outfits spaces and then quickly stacks away with the same sort of rapid aplomb, fitting 30 tables onto a single dolly.
Bollen’s Tutor Table is an appreciative nod to Rowland’s popular 40/4. Not only was it composed in honor of 40/4’s 40th anniversary, but it’s also made of the same core materials, following the same basic construction principles.
Even so, and as Bollen discloses, it was no small task to translate chair into table: “Construction principles, functionality, strength and ergonomics all needed to be fully integrated. After a lot of work I finally had what I would call ‘The perfect match’.”
Indeed, the aesthetic resemblance between 40/4 and Tutor is spot on, as both evoke a mid-century modern feel with just a hint of Bauhausian Industrial thrown in for good measure. And the old axiom of form following function comes into play here as well. All told, Bollen’s instructive Tutor Table is a fun and fitting match—“by combining Tutor and 40/4, you get optimal ergonomics, great flexibility and the perfect design combination for your interior.”
About the Manufacturer: “Flexible designs that facilitate free thinking.” The elegant summary of the philosophy behind Howe might be a clarion call to contract manufacturers everywhere. For their part, Howe lives up to the aspiration with an impressive line-up of multi-use furnishings for office and education venues. The space-saving simplicity of the Simpla, Moveo, and Plico collections attest to such.