Lee Valley Coffee Tables
November 1, 2005
Entry Details
 

THIRD PLACE:
# 230
Mike Wolos
Richmond, BC
Dimensions (inches):  
  Width:   46
  Height:   19
  Depth:   22
Materials:   Made with Purple heart, Baltic Birch ply, Maple Burl, Black Ebony, Yellow Cedar Burl.

The theme of this coffee table is wine, which is also reflected by the choice of Purple Heart, with its natural rich purple hue. The many features inside will delight anyone who loves and appreciates aged expensive wines.  

Even though the gracefully flowing lines of the table are somewhat interrupted by the design cuts, separating the top from the towers, it portrays a sense of continuity and harmony.  In addition to the main cabinet drawers there are also three secret compartments.

Throughout the table, rare burls and exotic veneers and solid woods are used liberally.  The whole table is made from laminated Baltic Birch Plywood, high quality, multi-layered plywood.  Each tower is covered with Purple Hear Veneer and sits on a black painted base, which was formed out of plywood and then covered with fibreglas. The base is fitted with four solid brass castors.

For surface protection I used a polyurethane clear coat, which is superior to lacquer and equivalent to automotive type paint.  It was hand polished to a brilliant gloss finish.
 
Thick huge slabs of maple burl on top of the table are divided by gaps filled with clear polyester casting resin, giving it a 3D appearance. The wide solid black ebony border with its slight bevel gives a lovely luxurious touch to it.
 
Solid black ebony hidden handles on the doors are my own invention.  I am pleased with the way they work since this is my first prototype. One light touch on the bottom and the handle flips open at the same time revealing a lock, a useful feature in a wine cabinet.
 
Each tower features two built in battery operated LED lights, which come on when you open the door.  Light is then reflected by the surround mirrors putting a beautiful glow on Yellow Cedar Burl interior.  Included in the cabinet are six custom made wineglass holders of yellow cedar burl, matching coasters and corkscrew, two bottle stoppers with burl tops, and a fancy wine bottle rack made from black ebony.
 
This detail shows the beauty of the yellow cedar burl.
Unfortunately, this view doesn't show the handmade dovetails.  
 

Judges Comments
AR : A stunning amount of work went into this piece, much of it very challenging. The finish is overly heavy to my taste, but looks to be laboriously rubbed out and quite fine. The overall design is rather brazen. This is a loud piece, and will need to live next to other ambitious furniture to be successful, such as part of a suite in a hotel room in Las Vegas. I love the latch, and would like to see more information on it.
CS : There is so much going on in this piece. But you pulled it off. Bravo. Stunning.
GR : Wow. This is no merlot. Rich, full bodied, with hints of blackberry and oak, perhaps some vanilla. Impressive effort, truly. Missing some warmth from my perspective, but a stunning bit of work.
LG : The workmansip is beautiful, the design is unique and very well thought out. This is a striking table. Glitzy, loud, glossy and functional all at the same time. Where are my shades?
RJ : A remarkable amount of technically challenging work. There is painstaking attention to detail, but the choice of heavy material for small drawer components is a surprise. The design is very powerful and other furniture in the same room might easily be lost unless it's also visually strong. The two curved black base elements seem visually unrelated to the general design theme of two elliptical towers connected by a bridge. Good ranking for design originality with reservations over the aesthetic choices. High marks for level of difficulty and execution. Excellent photography incidentally.

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