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Featured at the 10th annual Maker Faire Bay Area.

Amid the flaming robots and art cars of the 2015 Maker Faire I found an unexpected oasis of beautiful wood furniture and sculptures held together using thin steel cables.

Robby Cuthbert’s wood and steel designs take conventional furnishings (tables, lamps, bookshelves) and infuse them with a subtle magic that takes closer inspection to fully appreciate. Instead of fastening wood together using glue, nails or screws, Robby’s designs rely most often on carefully balanced tension held by steel cables.

Photo of the Contour Coffee Table.

The base of the Contour Coffee Table. Photo by Robby Cuthbert.

In some cases, such as the Contour Coffee Table, the wood elements don’t touch at all, but instead defy gravity in a state of calculated, interdependent tension. Other pieces, such as his Signature Lamp, pull the wood elements together tightly at a single, cantilevered point.

For anyone who’s grown tired of traditional furniture construction methods, Robby Cuthbert’s tensegrity designs are both elegant and inspiring.