ian stell forms flexible furniture that expands + contracts for countless configurations

ian stell forms flexible furniture that expands + contracts for countless configurations

ian stell forms flexible furniture that expands + contracts for countless configurations
all images courtesy of ian stell




new york-based designer ian stell‘s furniture lies at the intersection between art, engineering and functional object. the motive for his collection of modifiable pieces spurred from the design of a 16th century instrument used for copying or enlarging drawings — the pantograph. this mechanism, the most familiar application of which is the arm of an extendable wall-mounted mirror, mobilizes through a of a system of hinged and jointed rods. in the making of tables, chairs, large-scale seating and mirrors, stell has developed the structural system of the pantograph to suit a range of furniture and object applications.


during new york design week 2016, patrick parrish gallery presents stell’s ongoing ‘pantograph’ series at collective design fair, highlighting the range of spacial configurations created by each of the dynamic pieces. 

detail of ‘sinam’ side table between fully expanded and contracted




the collection of objects are able to transform through a sequence of multiple configurations and compositions. these variations are choreographed by the user, who simply extends and retracts opposite corners and ends of the objects. the multiple arrangements allow for a variety of spacial organizations, where pieces can be condensed to fit in small spaces, or enlarged for a larger setting. 


the dyed maple seating system ‘austrian loop tête-à-tête’ extends from 33 inches to a total length of 104 inches. using internal brass pivots, the limited edition piece is able to expand and contract, offering a range of seating configurations for domestic settings. similarly the ‘big pivot table’, crafted from ebonized white oak, morphs from a compact table measuring 30 x 83 x 34 inches into an enlarged surface that stretches to 30 x 113 x 17  inches. 

stell moves the ‘lattice’ table into a triangular configuration 




‘all of my designs sit somewhere in between poetry about functional objects and ones that are actually functional,’ stell told photographer rob howard. ‘I don’t hesitate to pursue something even if it’s incredibly complex. as far as I’m concerned the world is about complexity, and nature is about complexity, and although I’m very happy that there are many people that take a reductive approach to design and to art, it’s not the way that I think.’

‘austrian loop tête-à-tête’

the piece extends from 33 inches to a total length of 104 inches

internal brass pivots have been used, allowing the work to expand and contract

the limited edition piece offers a range of seating configurations for domestic settings

dyed maple has been used in the project’s construction

detail of ‘austrian loop tête-à-tête’

the range of furniture is inspired by the pantograph

movement of ‘austrian loop tête-à-tête’

‘sidewinder side table’

the table extends to a total of 21 x 66 x 40 inches when enlarged

only ten side tables have been manufactured

ebonized white oak has been used alongside dyed curly maple

detail of ‘sidewinder side table’

movement of ‘sidewinder side table’

‘big pivot table’

the table is crafted from ebonized white oak

detail of ‘big pivot table’

  • handsome items, but spilling something on the table would be a nightmare to clean up.

    don m says:

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