Partly Cloudy Tables designed by McCloy + Muchemwa for Sheffield

Architectural studio McCloy + Muchemwa teamed up with manufacturing studio Miter & Mondays to create tables that fit together like puzzle pieces.

The Partly Cloudy Tables were designed for Out & About, a program of free events at Pinball Park, Sheffield, designed to support the northern English city’s economic recovery.

Each table has its own unique shape. But they fit together in many different ways and offer endless configuration possibilities.

Each of the Partly Cloudy Tables has a unique shape

“The Partly Cloudy Tables are conceived as a family where the geometry of each table top is similar but not identical,” said Steve McCloy and Bongani Muchemwa, co-founders of McCloy + Muchemwa.

“The tables are linked together so they can be used individually, deployed in linear arrays, or grouped together into islands and organic clusters,” they tell Dezeen.

London-based McCloy + Muchemwa and Miter & Mondays collaborated to bring the project from concept to reality after it was introduced by Out & About curators Kerry Campbell and David McLeavy.

Their goal was to create shapes that can fulfill different functions, but also stimulate creative thinking that may not be possible on traditional tables.

Partly Cloudy Tables by McCloy + Muchemwa and Miter & Mondays
The table tops and bases can be disassembled for easy storage and transport

“One hypothesis was that rectangular tables dictate orthogonal arrangements and can lead to a hierarchical situation in public workshops,” McCloy and Muchemwa said.

“We wanted an unexpected, unusual design to pique the public’s curiosity, start a conversation and break some preconceptions.”

Out & About weekends in Sheffield
The tables were used for the Out & About events program in Sheffield

The tables consisted of an 18 millimeter thick CNC-cut plywood top attached to a stainless steel base made with a computer-controlled tube bender. Each table top is white and formed from circular geometries.

The design, which references artworks by Georgia O’Keeffe and David Hockney, was intended to contrast against a backdrop that includes a colorful floor mural by local artist Florence Blanchard.

“We chose a neutral color palette to complement Pinball Park’s location,” said McCloy and Muchemwa.

“Because they have irregular shapes and are white, guessing what they look like is a bit like child’s play of cloud gazing,” they suggested.

Out & About weekends in Sheffield
The tables were used for various activities

The table tops and bases are held in place by simple elastic straps, allowing them to be disassembled for easy storage and transport, and they have adjustable feet to compensate for uneven floor surfaces.

“This dynamic modular system is an efficient and user-friendly way to create a coherent and visually expressive installation,” added the architects.

Out & About weekends in Sheffield
The white tables contrasted with a floor painting by Florence Blanchard

McCloy and Muchemwa established their studio in 2017 and have completed a number of small projects including one of the London Design Festival’s City Benches and a self-built greenhouse called The Orangery.

The Partly Cloudy Tables project was funded by Sheffield City Council.

A variety of activities took place at the tables over four weekends between July and September, ranging from painting workshops to canning classes.

Out & About weekends in Sheffield

Now that the event is over, the table has been donated to a local creative and community group so it can continue to be used for public events.

Photograph by Joe Horner.

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