A ‘round table’ discussion of academics and practitioners for the Sino-Australian Dialogue on Design Practice Research Exhibition, curated by Dr Marcus White and Dr Andong Lu inspired White to create a unique, sci-fi take on a round table.

Dr Marcus White is an award winning architect and urban designer. He is co-director of Harrison and White and leads the Master of Urban Design program at the University of Melbourne. White’s collaborator, Dr Andong Lu is a Professor in Urbanism and Architectural Theory at Nanjing University and practitioner of architecture and landscape design.

The prototype Plaspanel table was exhibited at Andrew Lee King Fun Gallery at Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne. The table and bench seat appears to reference or perhaps parodies Darth Vader’s quiet meditation chamber from The Empire Strikes Back and its angular, geometric form. The prototype will be reproduced for the library at New Academic Street renovation at RMIT city campus.

In the library, these spaces will provide collaborative areas with some acoustic isolation – a solution to the challenge of contemporary library work-spaces that’s in between the traditional acoustically isolated fishbowl and the open plan space.

The prototype came to be fabricated in Plaspanel after Harrison and White had researched the product for an outdoor BBQ enclosure on a previous project. White was satisfied with the available colours and the fact that Plaspanel was produced from one hundred percent recycled HDPE.

Plaspanel multi-purpose panels are durable, require no painting or finishing and can be used outside. They can also be cut, drilled and routed with standard tools. All the elements were routed on a CNC router as a ‘flat-pack’ then slotted together. The separate seating components were then bolted together for stability.

The end result is a very striking table and bench seat that now has pride of place outside at White’s holiday home. It’s perfect for a round table discussion, a meeting of Sith Lords plotting an Empire takeover of the galaxy or even a BBQ lunch.

Image: (Left) Prototype Plaspanel table (courtesy of Dr Marcus White)