Let’s get this out right up front: the dining table is finally looking good. Maybe the panic of having family over for the holidays has shamed us into confronting the obvious. Whatever we can attribute to the ascent of gorgeous options, there is a Renaissance afoot in the most forgotten room of the house.
For one striking example, see Mexican design studio EWE. Limited to just 10 editions, the Humo table is not going to pair well with your heirloom Chippendale chairs; it’s going to show up with dark eyeliner and sneer at the lactose-free appetizers. All 400 kgs of it.
The monumental piece is part of the new Alquimia collection—which Age Salajõe, co-founder of EWE with Hector Esrawe, tells us was inspired by fire. And he was being literal. “For the Humo table we burnt the countertop with hand-held torch using a technique similar to the one known in Japan as Yakisugi, in order to protect the wood from weathering and to give it a unique color and texture,” he says.
Humo is made from oiled and burnt steel, held together by a massive slab of black Orizaba marble, a material native to Mexico, and heralded for its solid, deep black color. EWE worked with a local quarry to obtain the marble in one piece. The weight of the base is offset by an austere white oak plane. That charred effect gives the piece it’s monolithic appearance, seeming like a dining table for rouge leaders breaking bread during an apocalypse (which is often how family gatherings can feel).
A close up of Orizaba blackthe design makes a striking visual statement, both Ersrawe and Salajõe wanted the focus to be on craftsmanship. “It was important for us to combine the work of different discipline artisanal workshops in the execution of the piece,” says Salajõe.
The Mexico City-based outfit has made diverse techniques and hand-done processes the core of collection. Founded last year, their textural line of furniture, lighting and sculptural accessories have a primitive, slightly austere mood that cuts like resistance against the colour and exuberance that has dominated the design scene of late.
Humo also makes a compelling case for true artisan brands. Like fashion, not everyone is interested in a big name or a well-established look, and EWE occupies a space that is both independent and well-regarded. New York’s seminal design shop The Future Perfect represents the collection. So, the word is out.