The Elepharaonic banquet table with 14 dining chairs and two carver chairs, was especially designed for international private clients. Our brief from the interior designer was initially simple in that they knew they would like a table made of elephants with preferably a glass top, which responded to the clients’ house and tastes.
Upon being invited to their home, we found an exquisite Dali painting (depicting an elephant with extraordinarily distorted legs) immediately inspiring, and set to work finding a way to incorporate this subject matter into the design. We submitted several rounds of sketches, and came to resolve the design by recreating a dream-like, fantastical, surrealist-inspired table, that referenced their painting, but also told a new story with further iconography to unravel.
We wanted to entertain their guests, from the chairs they sat in, to what they could see whilst still seated, offering little interactions that could be subtle or at other times eye-catching. On the armrest, your hand lingers over the profile of an elephant’s head, which fits pleasingly in the ball of the hand. More striking perhaps, is being able to look through the table top at a herd of elephants, carrying handmade blown glass spheres that reference the tree of life, bursting with the vitality of dewy crystalline leaves, especially added to catch the light from above.
The table is cast in bronze, with each component hand-sculpted by Matt Withington the co-founder of Splinter Works, allowing for delightfully individual characteristics in all the elephants. It was produced through the traditional lost-wax process, and finished in liquid gold to emphasise the sculptural form. The leaves were treated with a chemical solution to accelerate the ageing process and produce a beautiful green patina.
The whole effect of the dining table is very sociable, interactive and a truly personal commission that reflects the owners’ character and transcends the piece of furniture into an artistic expression.