Yep, that's more or less exactly what it looks like: the sweetest ping pong table you've ever seen. The "Pingtuated Equilipong" by Akke Functional Art is intended to embody a quantum leap in sport and dining alike with the convertible piece.
Niles Eldredge and Stephen J. Gould's Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium proposes that most species exhibit little evolutionary variation for most of their history until rare and rapid events create significant changes.
The ping pong table has just experienced such a phenomenon. This regulation-size ping pong table (that converts to a dining table by removing the 'net') has revolutionized the traditional form.
Since the photos from ICFF hardly do it justice, designer and principal Axel Yberg was happy to provide hi-res photos of the piece...
The materials, per his description: "Mulberry, Chinese chestnut, black walnut, sycamore, red oak, black locust, cherry, holly, sassafras, and ash, reclaimed plumbing pipes and fittings, glass, mirror, steel, aircraft cable, and Edison reproduction light bulbs."
Of course, the Huntington, NY-based studio has more to show than sports equipment; Yberg's functional art runs the gamut of handcrafted and often bespoke furniture. He created the "In Vino Vitae: In Wine There Is Life" wine rack for a charity auction, where each and every detail bears symbolism to comprise a coherent whole.
The Fourth Dimension table, on the other hand, represents Yberg's ongoing 'Potential for Collapse' series. If the suspension cables suggest a certain physical dynamism, the description ventures into metaphysical territory:
The steel-mesh embedded glass top of this piece represents the space-time continuum and the supporting pipes represent four-vectors. This theory, first proposed by Albert Einstein, states that time—the fourth dimension —is only a direction in space and that "the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one." It's a challenging concept because we are only able to perceive one path that time takes: the ever-changing present.
I began to think about Einstein's theory, and how it relates to our life experiences and the time that we have for them, when talking to my brother-in-law, Chris. He and his wife, Jill, had recently undergone two of the most emotional events that we experience as humans: the birth of a child, and the death of a loved one—their incredible dog, Hazel. As they joyously welcomed a new member to their family, they grieved for the loss of another. The concept of time—and the importance of cherishing the present—became especially poignant. I built The Fourth Dimension as a gift for their family, celebrating the new and honoring the old.
The four legs of the table represent the four members of their family and the cables represent how they are all connected to one another. Bound together as a family, they rely on each other for support. If any of the cables were severed, the table would collapse.