Off to Shanghai!
A Boardroom Table for Shanghai

Boardroom Table, Shanghai

Design and Production of a Table System

Completion 2015


There is a set expression for the forced recruitment of seafarers in the 18th and 19th centuries: Shang-haiing. Unsuspecting and innocent people were pressed into going onto merchant ships, especially to do service on the voyage to Shanghai. We didn’t have to be forced into taking on an order in the "city above the sea", the translation of the Chinese name. Shanghai is, of course, now completely different from 200 years ago. The city is one of the largest and most modern in the world and also the most important industrial centre in China. International companies work there, almost all global players are represented. The city is a bridgehead of international trade and a global research centre, numerous meetings and conferences take place there. Our client required a table system for more than 20 people to host the meetings of the internationally staffed board of executives. We took on the task with pleasure. We had not yet had to oversee such a logistically demanding project so far from home. It was a challenge.

At the beginning, it became clear that the client wanted a table system in solid wood. Now we know that wood is a living material that never stops working. With sharp fluctuations of temperature and humidity, cracks and distortions can quickly occur in complex solid wood structures. It is the job of the experienced design engineer and cabinet maker to prevent this. Thus, for example, the boards can be manufactured as a sandwich and expansion joints integrated. This in turn must be in conformity with the design and function. During a highly collaborative and long consultation process from April 2015 to December 2015, numerous samples were prepared and examined and all specifications and requirements could be met.

We took the climatic conditions in Shanghai into the preparations from the outset. The project start took place on site to keep the atmospheric conditions in mind from the very beginning. In addition, we adapted ourselves here in Hellerau, too and carried out the pre-assembly in a very humid room. Then the aim was to transport the six crates with the table elements by plane over 8500 km as quickly as possible to the site. After an additional 22 exciting days everything was assembled and could be handed over. We are at least as pleased with the result as the client is.

Text: DWH
Photo: Tobias Kandt