Akke Functional Art
Read here about a furniture deisgn studio that, among their works, produces tensegrity-based furtniure.
Axel Yberg founded Akke Functional Art to create a modern furniture design studio dedicated to exploring the dynamic between natural and industrial elements. Akke designs incorporate both finished and live edge slabs of wood with metal, glass, and stone. Each piece is built to serve a practical purpose and add a unique element of modern design to both residential and commercial spaces.
The studio is located at 12b School Street, Northport, New York 11768 (Oct 2014).
Since its founding in May 2010 the studio has produced many tensegrity-based tables.
Date: August 2010 Dimensions: 18"l x 18"w x 39"h Artist's notes: This is a nod to the design genius of Kenneth Snelson and his concept of Tensegrity -- "floating compression". Incidentally, this piece is our smallest table to date. When I was a bartender, a busboy -- named Kenneth -- who looked like he was twelve, got an extra $10 tip his first day because a generous customer thought he was a "cute kid". I nicknamed him Ken-spot. oiled black walnut, oiled reclaimed ípe, black steel, stainless cable, stainless screws
Date: January 2012 Dimensions: 26.5"l x 26.5"w x 19"h Artist's notes: The steel-mesh embedded glass top of this piece represents the space-time continuum and the supporting pipes represent four-vectors. This theory, first proposed by Albert Einstein, states that time -- the fourth dimension -- is only a direction in space and that “the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” It’s a challenging concept because we are only able to perceive one path that time takes: the ever-changing present. I began to think about Einstein's theory, and how it relates to our life experiences and the time that we have for them, when talking to my brother-in-law, Chris. He and his wife, Jill, had recently undergone two of the most emotional events that we experience as humans: the birth of a child, and the death of a loved one -- their incredible dog, Hazel. As they joyously welcomed a new member to their family, they grieved for the loss of another. The concept of time -- and the importance of cherishing the present -- became especially poignant. I built The Fourth Dimension as a gift for their family, celebrating the new and honoring the old. The four legs of the table represent the four members of their family and the cables represent how they are all connected to one another. Bound together as a family, they rely on each other for support. If any of the cables were severed, the table would collapse. oiled black walnut, galvanized plumbing pipes and fittings, brushed black steel, aircraft cable, steel-mesh embedded glass
Arabica Nebula Dates: August 2010 - August 2011 Dimensions: 46"l x 46"w x 20"h Artist's Notes: To make the legs for this table, I rolled 24" steel mesh into tubes -- welding two tubes together for each. I flared out the ends of each section to create a star detail in the middle and at the ends. This is a delicate piece, so I was concerned about its ability to hold the weight of the glass. To test its strength, I placed three pieces of plywood on top of it and then applied additional downward pressure. The table withstood this test. However, when I placed 1/4" glass on it, the gravitation force from the glass was too great and one of the welds where I joined the two tubes failed. I put the table aside until a year later when I decided to add the small bars to strengthen the legs. This time it worked. This coffee (Arabica in Latin) table looks like a star. A nebula is a star that collapsed due to gravity. rolled & painted steel mesh, aircraft cable, steel rod, steel washers, glass
Date: September 2011 Dimensions: 32"l x 32"w x 20"h Artist's Notes:I donated the rights to a custom piece to an auction for pediatric orthopedics. The doctor who won the auction requested a coffee table. I decided to make a tensegrity piece with guitar strings as the cables –four different gauges which resonate in different pitches when strummed. I painted plumbing caps and positioned them to resemble tuning keys. When I delivered it, I left several mother-of-pearl guitar picks on top of the table. Because it was bid on & I used guitar strings, I named it Bo Biddley. black walnut, bass guitar strings, painted plumbing pipes and fittings, glass
Feet On The Ground, Head In The Sky
Date: October 2011 Dimensions: 43"l x 43"w x 21"h Artist's notes: This name is a reference to a lyric in one of my favorite songs: “This Must be the Place” by Talking Heads. In my interpretation, it’s a love song about a couple who, although destined to be together, “make it up as [they]] go along”. And it’s “never for money always for love”. The man finds his comfort in the presence of his mate. I feel this way about my wife. I chose this particular lyric because I have a tendency to have my head in the sky/clouds --represented by a top that seemingly floats -- while I simultaneously, as I’m reminded by my wife, have to keep my feet on the ground – the strong, firmly grounded legs of the table. oiled black walnut, reclaimed galvanized plumbing pipes & fittings, brushed reclaimed steel, stainless aircraft cable, glass
Date: October 2013 Dimensions: 20"l x 20"w x 26"h Artist's notes: We made 'Kinect Four' -- a tensegrity side table -- shortly after presenting World Poker Tour Player of the Year, Matt Salsberg, with our crazy poker table, 'All In'. Matt and I share a mutual friend, Jamie, who upon seeing the unnamed "Kinect Four', jokingly asked, "Is that for the 'Connect Four Player of the Year'?" Since I loved that game as a child and now play it with my five year old son -- who cheats -- I thought it was really funny. When I mentioned it to my friend Jason, he said, "You should call it Kinect Four, K-I-N-E-C-T." I loved the idea! Coincidentally -- or in Synchronicity, as I believe -- advances in robotics were on my mind. I had just read an article discussing how the Microsoft Kinect was revolutionizing the robotics industry. Also, my client who commissioned this table is a software engineer for a biotech robotics manufacturer. The name was perfect! lacquered wormy maple, cherry burl, purpleheart, & zebrawood, brushed reclaimed black steel plumbing pipes, galvanized plumbing fittings, stainless steel aircraft cables
Date: September 2010 Dimensions: 22.5"l x 22.5"w x 41.5"h Artist's notes: My first studio project in architecture school was an exploration of flock dynamics in pigeons. A man in Brooklyn had a pigeon coop on the roof of his building. I was amazed as he released hundreds of birds to demonstrate their synchronized movement. I related these movements of repulsion and attraction to tension and compression in physics. oiled black walnut, black steel, aluminum, stainless cable, stainless screws, glass
Date: May 2010 Dimensions: 48"l x 48"w x 21"h Artist's notes: We had just finished renovating my mother-in-law’s house. She couldn’t find the “perfect” coffee table, so I made her one as a gift... for granting me her daughter’s hand in marriage. I had been waiting seven years for the opportunity to make this piece – ever since I discovered Kenneth Snelson’s beautiful sculptures. This is my very first piece of furniture. oiled reclaimed ípe, stainless cable, aluminum, glass
Links and References
Akke Functional Art official website: http://www.akkefunctionalart.com/
Yberg's LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/axel-yberg/28/14a/406
Robert Lowell Photography, who photographed the images above: http://www.robertlowellphotography.com/