A Table Designed to Provoke the Spirit of Motorcycling

Hello All,

I’ve been an avidly scrolling through these forums for some time, but have just recently created an account to share my work. Currently, I work as a shop tech in a prototyping facility (Hardware) during the day but am exploring design work in my free time (nights & weekends). I have been able to work in the shop through quarantine, So I’ve spent most of 2020 working on a personal project. I am still actively working on the project, but am hoping to wrap it up soon.

Essentially, my intention for this project is to design a table that provokes the spirit of motorcycling.

I’ve always loved motorcycles and the process of building things (fabrication), but have more recently found a love for architectural design (Richard Rogers, Santiago Calatrava, Zaha, to name a few of my favorites) and am slowly whittling away at defining a design philosophy of my own. I would love any feedback or critique on the project, thus far. I have aspired to explore design around this sort of work since starting my undergrad (graduated in 2018, in Industrial Design), but only recently found the confidence to take the first plunge.

I appreciate your time!

It would be hard to be much more literal than a motorcycle engine bolted underneath a table.

That is a very fair point, I appreciate your comment. I suppose there wont be much room for interpretation, once a viewer registers the engine, as an engine.

My college roommate and I were into picking from the auto scrapyard and we made a few chairs and a table and a clock. They were all chunks of car with a few parts added. It’s really fun to build but nobody appreciated them as much as we did haha. That said, you have put more thought into the design than we ever did. I think it will be very satisfying and impressive to complete a build with some fidelity to your sketches.

Mostly they evoke some fun weekends with friends.

These are so fun! The chair at first glance reminded me of Le Corbusiers’ lc3 but with a little digging I found it more resembled the “Chunky Milo Lounge Chair” - Chunky Milo Lounge Chair . That Bimmer steering wheel reminds me of my friends old 5 series lol. little sketchy of a drive but we certainly had fun weekends. I appreciate your kind words.

Add some flames bro it will add more horsepower

Ah I forgot the flames… thank you! lol

Truthfully, after reviewing a lot of projects on here, I’ve realized; a) I am very poorly communicating my design intention b) it is very hard to offer critique on a project that isn’t completed or at least near its ending stages and c) I still have a lot of work to do (flames may or may not be included here lol)

I’ve been a bit stuck on developing the system that will act as a support for the motor. Going between sketching and building mockups, I’ve come to a few solutions but nothing too exciting. It also seems easier for viewers if images are posted in the thread, so moving forward I may do so.

I commend you for working on self-motivated projects and pushing yourself to share. Since you’re soliciting comments from a bunch of us snarky designers, I’d recommend asking whether you’re looking to “evoke the spirit of motorcycling” (assume you don’t actually mean “provoke”) or creating furniture using motorcycle parts because you like them. I don’t mean that to sound condescending, because either could be a fun project.

If you’re talking about “evoking the spirit” I know many of us had the idea of moods/themes/brands beaten into our heads in school. In reality, a motorcycle is pretty heavy, but it’s spirit would likely be more about feeling light, maneuverable, fast, exciting, aggressive, free, etc. The table you’re sharing, has literal motorcycle components, but it looks quite heavy as a result. The engine also doesn’t serve a purpose, besides possibly weighting the table for balance, whereas almost every piece of a real motorcycle would be quite purposeful/functional. So despite having motorcycle parts, the table kind of contradicts the “spirit” of the machine.

If the intent is a more “industrial” table where you want to evoke a mechanical/tinkering feeling you could push yourself to get more abstract. Using metal components, exposed bolts, chains, gears, whatever to construct a table that has the feel of a motorcycle, but is not literally a motorcycle with a top surface on it. Often if a product mimics an animal or object too literally, it can come off cheesy. Think about material choices and the overall vibe of the design. You said you appreciate Calatrava, for example. He made an art museum that feels like a bird (and he even put “wings” on it) but there isn’t a bird’s head glued on the roof, it’s more suggestive!

First of all, great initiative.

The last comment is almost exactly what I was going to say. Another approach could be to symbolize the world of motorcycling, or the connection to the machinery of motorcycling - it’s something else entirely than saying to ‘provoke the spirit of’ motorcycling. You first have to define what that spirit is. For some it’s the intimate connection to mechanical parts, for others it’s the social experience, for yet others it’s the feeling of individual freedom and empowerment…it could even be the acceptation of a seemingly inevitable road into the darkness of life… etc.

To provoke the spirit, perhaps incorporating the engine is too literal. But you have it, and I feel it can work. So you can also incorporate it anyway and post-rationalize it to fit the project brief, right.

Also you are right on both a, b, and c. I would have to see a more finished prototype to see your intention in terms of color and material as well. For example, what I love most about your entire design is what appears to be piece of a spaceframe on the bottom of the engine. Then again, maybe it’s something else. I would love that since that definitely shouts ‘motorcycle’ to me personally. I would have to see a more complete version to be able to critique the design. Integration is always a good idea (vs. a feeling of ‘stuck-on’ elements).