The Brief
This all started with a very unusual commission from a wonderful client. As a lover of the arts and an avid reader, he asked me to design a Reading Book Table for his study.
When I was very young, I just kicked, caught, threw or hit balls. I never kept still and I certainly never read.
Today, I’ve never read more, I simply love it – it takes me to a place where I stop thinking about myself, lose my sense of time and place and submerge myself in someone else’s world, created by them, for them and for us all.
I love reading from a physical book, not a tablet and certainly not a smartphone. The decision to sit down in a chair and read and to do nothing else is soothing as well as being, at times, intellectually invigorating. ⁠
I have been banging on about the harm of social media and get so desperate when I see my children consumed by it. I’m afraid I predominantly see its negatives but I’m told to get a grip as this is the new reality! 
I mean whose posting on Blogs and Instagram now! So when I was asked to design a Reading Book Table, I was over the moon – the Luddite in me sprang into action – an opportunity to design a piece against our sound bite, short attention span culture! Ha!
However, I soon ditched the holier-than-thou and saw it as an opportunity to celebrate the act of reading a physical book rather than criticise other ways to consume the written word.
Nevertheless, in designing this object, I was able to support this type of reading and show that unlike a smartphone, where you are always that single click away from something that can divert your attention, in holding a book with substance, it asks for slow and considered concentration. ⁠
The final piece
Hardbacks need both hands to read comfortably as the spine and cover are too stiff for the one-handed, slouch-and-read-sofa-technique, so this table was designed with an accompanying reading chair in mind, sitting snugly as a married pair

The table is large enough to carry a few favourites books but certainly not a library. Books can be objects with masterful layouts, exquisite font designs, unique textures and smells and exquisite imagery. They are vessels that hold our thoughts and ideas and this table aims to prop those up. Although refined, a book is, as any book-binder will attest, very clever in its simple construction. It has two elements: sewn pages and a cover. I wanted my reading book table to have the same simplicity – just two elements that show how it is constructed – the black steel as the cover and the brass as the sewn pages – the brass tab cutting into the black steel as if the text leans in to bite the book’s structural cover.

Originally designed to sit between a reading chair and a raked loft ceiling, its sloped sides followed suit and so required little upturned feet to hold the books in place. Whilst reminding me of the shape of my own outstretched legs and angled feet whilst reading, the form alludes strongly to a lectern – an object with obvious associations of literary importance

Grandiosity aside, if this table can do anything, it’s to encourage more reading of an actual physical book. As ever I must thank Weber Industries as wonderful fabricators.
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