“As the fish nibble on the roots of the plant under water, the birds sing next to you while having a cup of tea or a snack.”
Mellot had the idea for the project while living in Valencia. “The idea is really to switch the focus from ‘I am very active, Facebooking, networking and so on’ to ‘I chose to have birds in a cage, so now I have to take care of them’,” Mellot told Dezeen. The wire cage is positioned over a circular indent in one corner of the oak tabletop. “By integrating iconic items such as a birdcage and fish tank in the tabletop, the focus almost automatically shifts from the obligatory ‘to-do-list’ to a pleasant pondering of nature,” said Mellot. How can furniture invite us to take a break and enjoy an ‘unconnected’ moment?” asked the designer. The bottom of the tank balances on a cross brace between two legs. “I noticed how influenced I was by living so close to a peaceful and slow place like this. So, this project is about admiring slowness, and a way to achieve that is to look at natural elements, because you have no control over them.”
The project is currently a prototype and intended partly as critical design, but equally as something that could go into production. The Turia table was on show during Dutch Design Week as part of the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate show, where Mellot has just graduated from the Man and Activity Department. Maxime Mellot’s steel-frame Turia desk is too high and too small to work on comfortably. One of the legs appears to extend through the surface and branch to create a perch for small birds. Related story: Plants grow inside Maxim Scherbakov’s marble Sputnik-5 table Instead, a clay pot, steel birdcage and glass tank form part of the design to encourage the user to slow down and observe the life inside.