YMCA: A Table Made of Stories
When the YMCA began development for the new boardroom table for their national headquarters, they invited their 53 affiliates across the country to donate materials and objects to be used in building the table. This resulted in nearly 100 disparate objects each with its own unique story, character and challenge. Ranging from pieces of wood to bricks, glass, stone, paddles, pins, badges, and even a bone; we committed from the start to finding a way to repurpose and integrate all the material provided to honour these stories about the YMCA and its place in the community. As with most of our projects the design stemmed from the material, in this case with some pretty uncommon constraints given the diversity of the pieces. We began this project over a year ago and it has always felt extraordinarily well suited to us, our philosophies and our strengths. We love little more than a chance to see what can be done with what is at hand.
Sparked by the idea of a table as a focal point for discussion and idea generation, the table’s curator Pat Thompson wanted to make something that would unify and encourage this 160 year old organization do what they do best, help people. Pat’s vision for the table was also inspired by the Six String Nation guitar, Jowi Taylor’s renowned project which unified materials from across the country to create a guitar to represent Canada. One of our most challenging and inspiring projects to date, we were able to explore and demonstrate how a functional and elegant piece of furniture could be born from a collection of diverse objects. The philosophy of the YMCA was manifested in the process used to manufacture the table; it was built with no other material than what was provided and it feels like its made of the stories which are bound to those objects, in this way it serves and strengthens those who gather around it.