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Almost Genius: Table Folds Like Origami, Becomes Four Tables in One

A great-looking expandable table has one little problem: It’s not a very good table.

Almost Genius: Table Folds Like Origami, Becomes Four Tables in One

Expandable tables usually fall into two categories: Ugly and hideous. Which sucks for design snobs who live in pint-sized apartments (like us!), where adaptable furniture is key. Enter Unfold, a stylish little card table that opens into a full-blown dining or work surface.

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The table was designed by Mathilde Witt Mølholm for her graduation thesis at the Aarhus School of Architecture, in Denmark, and it makes efficient use of geometry to grow and shrink in a few easy steps. The film above does a good job of showing you how, exactly, it works, if you can ignore the studied graininess (which serves what purpose, we have no idea).

In a nutshell: Folded up, the table’s a super-angular polygon that fits five people snugly. To turn it into a proper dining table — one that could presumably seat eight — you slide out a pair of legs, then unfold the table top at two corners, like you’re unmarking a page in a book. Or, want a medium-sized surface? Just fold out one corner. That’s the beauty of the design. It’s like four tables in one, each its own unique piece of origami.

The problem is that it doesn’t make for a very good table. When any of the corners are folded up, they stay on a higher plane than the rest of the table, creating an uneven surface. That, of course, opens you up to all kinds of liabilities. (Unsuspecting guest puts wine in the wrong place, spills everywhere; unsuspecting guest puts spaghetti in the wrong place, spills everywhere; unsuspecting guest puts your laptop in the wrong place, gets punched in the face.)

In Mølholm’s defense, she color-coded the table so you always know which plane you’re on. (In the photos: white’s the top plane; yellow’s the bottom). We’re guessing that’s plenty of differentiation for whoever actually own the thing but definitely not for our aforementioned guest.

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[Images courtesy of Mathilde Witt Mølholm]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.

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