Flexible Living

Jason Shatilla’s Sur[faces] tables let you have it many ways.

The Interior Design Show in Toronto is a great place to scout for new Canadian talent like Montreal-based designer Jason Shatilla, who was there February 12–14 as part of the Studio North exhibition, which showcases 34 talented Canadian designers and studios. Shatilla spoke to Metropolis about Sur[faces], a modular system of interchangeable coffee tables he designed in collaboration with Carla El-Samra (available from Surface 3: www.surface3.com).


The nature of the product encourages playfulness; we used a lively color scheme to communicate that.

We cut out the center, so that people might use the table in a more interesting way.

Often the center of a coffee table is not used functionally; people use it to display a vase or some other decorative element. It’s a lot of wasted space.

Sold separately, the modules are available in ten different colors and three standard sizes. They can be stacked one atop another or be used individually.

If you lift the table up, there’s a spring mechanism like a hinge that pops up, and the legs come down automatically.

The hardware allows the tables to be hung easily onto hooks.

We wanted the table to be finished on all sides. If you flip the table over, you’ll see the same finish on the bottom as on the top.

The coffee-table system can be adjusted to varying heights and shapes. If you have a taste for a higher table, you can set up five or six surfaces. Each table can be lowered or raised individually because the legs open and close.

The idea for these tables came from looking at the customization being offered with consumer products like cell phones and personal computers, which we looked at as surfaces. We had this idea of designing a dynamic product for flexible environments, and wanted to make furniture that would allow people to claim their space and do what they want with it. The result is a system of low coffee tables that can be stacked and arranged in a variety of formats.

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