"Symbiosis" Ministerial Table for the 2021 Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union

"Symbiosis" Ministerial Table for the 2021 Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union
The Challenge

In 2020, SUSDESIGN was contracted by the 2021 Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union to design, develop, and build a large table to be used at the meetings of the Presidency at the Presidency Headquarters (Belém Cultural Center - CCB) and in various locations around Portugal. As such the table had to:

  • Be low-cost;
  • Be designed in accordance with sustainability values and the values of the New European Bauhaus;
  • Be easily transportable and set up in different formats and to seat different numbers of participants;
  • Maintain a distance of 1.5m between participants
  • Fit inside the elevators of the CCB (i.e. be less than 2m in height).
The Solution

The table designed by SUSDESIGN was conceived as a continuation of the 'FOREST DESIGN' concept implemented in the lounges of the PPUE, while bringing together different national industries, integrating industrial symbiosis and recycled materials, while also meeting the state and Covid-19 protocol criteria. The table was designed to be modular, with each module comprising a table-top, two legs, and a front panel. Each table top was to be 1.8m in length by 0.8m in depth, however, under request from the client (with consideration to the maximum number of participants to be seated), the final dimensions were scaled down to 1.5m by 0.75m. The primary material was to be toasted cork, a byproduct of the cork stoppers industry, and a national, natural, different, and stylish material. The front panel included an assortment of forest materials (forest waste and eucalyptus leaves and branches), as well as Portuguese pine from discarded broken pallets, all placed upon a Valchromat panel.

The Results

The PPUE 2021 Ministerial Table was first assembled at the CCB's Grand Auditorium in April 2021 in a rectangular format, comprising 44 tables. In line with the client's request, the front panel of the table modules was redesigned to comprise alternating lines of toasted cork and pine, which created a uniform, infinite structure. The legs were also redesigned in order to accommodate irregular seating positions. The public debut of the table was at the Informal Meeting of the Council of the European Union on May 8, 2021, in Porto at the Rosa Mota Pavillion, Super Bock Arena. Due to the unique circular structure of the Arena, extra parts were designed to allow the table to be attached in a circular layout with 34 tables. In addition to the extra parts, name plates for each of the countries and participants were produced in laser-engraved cork. The table was then transported to the city of Coimbra for the Informal Meeting of Ministers for EU Affairs and Foresight on 17 May 2021, and was set up in a rectangular format integrating 32 tables. After Coimbra, SUSDESIGN's ministerial table was set up back at the CCB's Grand Auditorium for various meetings on 27 May 2021, integrating 44 tables.

Project Details
Client: EMOLCP
Local: Porto
Year: 2020-2021
Team: Ana Mestre; Rasim Can Savaskan; Sebastiao Bizarro; Pedro Leitao