Making the Brooklyn Coffee Table

Marquetry – also spelled as Marqueterie, from the French – is the art of creating decorative patterns by applying different wood veneers, precisely cut into shape, on a piece of furniture.
Since its invention in the 16th century, this technique has become a luxurious way to ornate the most exquisite pieces of furniture. Exotic and rare woods were used, as well as bone, ivory, mother of pearl or precious stones.

From the Frederiksborg Slot Museum by Politikaner / Wikimedia Commons

Marquetry was an inspiration for several projects, such as the Dots Table and the Brooklyn Dining Table.
But instead of using any of those traditional and precious materials, I wanted to use wood salvaged from the sidewalks of my neighborhood. What people see as trash appeals to me as natural resources – raw and full of potentials.

Beyond the irony of using a luxurious technique on salvaged materials, I aim to show that you can transform and add value to any resources, even the seemingly worthless,  just by creatively spending time with them.

With this post, I want to share with you the making of my last project, the Brooklyn Coffee Table. The marquetry is used here to create a map of Brooklyn within the tabletop. The concept of the map itself is to reflect where the wood that I use comes from – the streets of Brooklyn.

1/ Walk the streets, bring home some wood

2/ Trace and cut the pieces

3/ Put them together, build the map

4/ Cut the core of the table

5/ Apply wood on the tabletop

6/ Protect it with a coat of varnish

7/ Upside down, insert the map and seal the pieces together

8/ Pour resin to hold everything together

9/ And let it cure

10/ Have some metal hairpin legs made

11/ Mount the legs, sign the piece, you’re done

12/ Now, it’s time for the photoshoot

13/ Click here to see more images of the table!