Partly cloudy tables designed by McCloy + Muchemwa for Sheffield

Architecture studio McCloy + Muchemwa collaborates with maker 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 in Pinball Park, Sheffield, aimed at supporting the economic recovery in the northern English city.

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

Each of the Partly Cloudy Tables has a unique shape

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

“The tables are linked together so they can be used individually, deployed in linear arrangements, or collected in islands and organic clusters,” they told Dezeen.

London-based McCloy + Muchemwa and Miter & Mondays teamed up to take the project from concept to reality, after being introduced by Out & About curators Kerry Campbell and David McLeavy.

Their goal was to produce shapes that can serve different functions, but also inspire creative thinking that may not be possible on traditional tables.

Partly cloudy tables from McCloy + Muchemwa and Miter & Mondays
The table tops and bases can be taken apart for easy storage and transport

“One hypothesis was that rectangular tables dictate orthogonal arrangements and may create a hierarchical situation during public workshops,” said McCloy and Muchemwa.

“We wanted an unexpected, unusual design to arouse the curiosity of the audience, start a conversation and let go of some preconceived notions.”

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

The tables are made from an 18 millimeter thick surface of CNC-cut plywood, attached to a stainless steel base that is made using a computer-controlled pipe bender. Each table top is white and formed from circular geometries.

Referencing artwork by Georgia O’Keeffe and David Hockney, the design was meant to stand out against a backdrop that included a colorful floor painting by local artist Florence Blanchard.

“We chose a neutral color palette to complement the Pinball Park site,” said McCloy and Muchemwa.

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

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

The table tops and bases are attached with simple elastic straps so they can be dismantled for easy storage and transport, and they have adjustable legs to accommodate for uneven ground.

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

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

McCloy and Muchemwa founded their studio in 2017 and have completed a series of small projects, including one of 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.

Over four weekends between July and September, the tables hosted a wide variety of activities, ranging from painting workshops to pickle-making 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 they can continue to be used for public events.

The photography is by Joe Horner.

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