The painting palette is a wonderful design. An amorphous blob of flat wood, the palette is designed to allow an artist to easily mix paints. A dab here, a dab there, and an entirely new color is formed in the palm of your hand.
If it works in a studio, why shouldn’t it work in a school, or for that matter, an office? That was the thinking of the Spanish architecture firm Menéndez and Gamonal Arquitectos. Asked to come up with a large meeting and gathering table for the Classroom Building at Oviedo University’s Milan Campus, the designers came up with a piece of furniture that looks—and hopefully works—just like a painting palette.
Created out of wood and stainless steel, with suspended lighting illuminating the table from above, Menéndez and Gamonal say that their hope was to design a table that would encourage organic collaboration, just like the mixing of paint. Instead of students just sitting next to each other at a large rectangle, they’re forced to find space at a table with curving nodes. It encourages students to sit close to each other, to lean toward one another, and to work together where they otherwise might work apart.
Does it work? We only have the designer’s word for it, but for my money, it beats sitting at a boring old rectangle. You can see more of the architect’s work here.