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Zì Rán is a table designed and made without using any nails, screws or glue. Its production is 100% waste-free and by hands, utilizing traditional Chinese mortise and tenon.

Living, like a plant,
is something spontaneous.

We think we have a drive to survive, that we must go on living. But you see, living, like a plant, is something spontaneous. In Chinese, the word for nature is Zì Rán, which means that which happens of itself, not under any control of an outside force. If you stop this spontaneous flowering of nature, it would be ridiculous. The ideology of Zì Rán is the inspiration of my table.

In order to show case the idea of everything happens spontaneously, I decide to research and utilize some of the old Chinese wood working technique. By using traditional Chinese mortise and tenon, and architectural structure, I am able to explore techniques that allow me to design and make the table naturally and efficiently.

Ancient ingenuity
leads to new discoveries.

Utilizing traditional Chinese furniture making techniques, I designed and made my table without using any nails, screws or glue. The table is steady and durable, but also flat packable, and can be assembled by a single person without using any tools and hardwares. The component contains 8 pieces, all in the same material and finish. With no heavy chemical finish and sharp edges, the design is modern, eco-friendly and child safe. You can enjoy living and gathering of the whole family.

The challenge in the design process is finding the right material. I want the table to be a long-lasting, accessible and meaningful statement piece for a modern household. So I need to use something hard and sturdy, but also lightweight and unique. After all the tryouts and prototypes, poplar became the best choice for me. As the softest hardwood, poplar is light and has the freshest veins, which looks crisp, clean and design-forward. It is often used in oriental furniture designs and architectures. This project won A’ Design Award in 2018, and rated Top 20 Winners.

Credit to:

Kaidi Mao

Design / Production

Mark Thomas

Production Assistant