I had the honor of building a contemporary steel conference table for HONDA R & D based in downtown LA several years ago. The initial discussion with HONDA was a little interesting as they wanted to recycle used HONDA sheetmetal as the material for the top of the table. I knew right away that HONDA sheetmetal was not going to work for several reasons. First, old Honda Accords and Civics were very small cars and seemed to only come in colors like white, black, emerald green, medium blue and a metallic sand color. None of which were interesting colors for this particular project. Second, Honda paint was really good … when was the last time you saw any Honda with a naturally aged patina finish? Never.
Once everyone agreed that it would be best for the top to be made from very old GM sheetmetal, we turned our attention to the base of the conference table. My mind thought back to the vintage “H” Honda logos and thought maybe we could water jet cut a couple of table legs out of 1/2″ steel with a design that was inspired by their old logo, without being too literal. My buddy Dan took my notes, sketches and dims and did his magic in CAD, drawing out the base of the table.
Honda was wonderful to work for throughout this process. They liked and approved our initial renderings without any modifications. I used 28 Honda camshafts out of 1990’s 24v Accords to build the rotating center beam of the industrial looking conference table. Machined aluminum carriers held USA made Baldor-Dodge pillow block bearings, making the insanely heavy beam spin very easily. You can’t hear it in the video above but I eventually fabricated a striker that would loundly click against a Honda timing gear and make a cool sound as the beam spun in the final, assembled conference table. The beam is functional as it triangulates the stiffness of the legs and the moving beam is just for looks and for fun.
This Honda facility where this table was delivered was really cool but very secure. We had to check our cell phones and were monitored by security during the installation of this conference table. I was not allowed to bring my large Canon camera indoors to take final photos or video of the rotating camshaft beam. The “conference room” inside this large warehouse was a converted shipping container. It was a really cool space within a larger room that housed the conference table, 8 chairs and several flat screen displays. The interior of the shipping container outfitted with lots of AV equipment and acoustic wall insulation. It was an amazing space to have one of my modern conference tables and an experience I won’t soon forget. – Joel