While many furniture designs can boast that they are put together with no screws, glue or nails, very few can say they rely on nothing but tension but that is exactly what the Suspension Furniture by Robby Cuthbert does. By running Stainless Steel cables from the outermost points of the curves and from the innermost points, the tension from the shortest distances to the greatest distances become opposing forces that hold each other in place for maximum stability.
The multitude of cables and the fact that the legs within the Contour Table don’t touch make this coffee table as much a feat of engineering as it is a sculptural design and that is no accident as Robby studied both sculpture and engineering at Williams College.
The Stainless Steel cables are held in place by using copper crimping.
Although the four bamboo legs don’t even touch each other the base is completely stable.
The X-Weave Coffee Table is a walnut and maple design and presents a more traditional style than the Contour Table but here too the tension within the cables add strength and support – especially to the walnut shelf beneath the glass top.
Balance End Table wouldn’t balance very well without its cables. A cherry and sapele wood design the joinery within the tabletop and the two actual legs add a woodworkers aesthetic to the industrial geometry of the cables.
The Balance End Table takes on a completely different visual depending which angle you look at it.
The Pinnacle End Table is a walnut and maple design whose four tapered legs would be rather unstable without the added reinforcement of the 8 Stainless Steel Cables.
Suspension Shelf reminds me of a suspension bridge and for good reason as it uses the same principles as a suspension bridge to hold the cantilevered shelf in place.
Even when filled with books, the pattern of the cables behind the mahogany and red oak shelf is not only visible but beautiful.
Robby’s suspension designs are not limited to furniture as you can see by this Balance Wine Rack made from walnut and birch. There are no glues or screws holding this nearly vertical wine holder to its horizontal base.
Robby also creates purely sculptural designs out of Stainless Steel cables and wood. This one is called Dive and is made from walnut and birch and although it is an abstract image it really looks like a Heron getting ready to dive into the water to snag a fish, what do you see?
This is called Wingspan but I see a bull’s head. Robby made a video on how he creates his amazing tension based furniture. It is really well done and shows a step-by-step procedure that takes all the mystery out of it. Still, knowing how to do it and actually doing it are two different things – especially when it comes to the vision of each design.