The Mesa table evolved from an architectural experiment which was similarly to do with creating connections. Elastika was an installation created in theMooreBuildingin 2005 for the Miami Art Fair. The brief had been a sculptural structure to revivify the 1921 building’s atrium. Zaha’s proposal was an organic set of tentacles which linked spaces and floors across the atrium, defying changing levels and criss-crossing each other in mid-air. The effect was like a huge, sticky chewing gum pulled out of shape across the interior. It is a sci-fi alien piece which transforms the heart of the building, reaching across space. It looks as if the structure was attempting to resolve itself back into a single solid.
TheMesa table takes as its starting point a similar situation. Stripping the formal idea back to its constituent parts; ground; structure; surface, the design creates a world in between the two horizontal planes, a world which becomes structure but in which the voids express the form as much as the solids. Those voids do not appear merely as holes but go on to define the surface. Zaha compares it to water lilies sitting on a pond, flat mats supported by an unseen, complex and organic structure beneath. This highly unusual attenuation of surface from structure gives form to four organically-shaped sections which constitute defined divisions on the surface, described as ‘place-mats’. As one end is attracted by an invisible gravitational force, it skews the symmetry, an attenuated prow dragging the other forms along with it while the structure below stretches elastically to accommodate the distortions.
The Mesatable becomes a microcosmic extrusion of the spatial ideas inherent in Zaha’s architecture. Form doesn’t follow only function but instead is drawn along by the narrative of the plan and flow of space. It becomes something plastic and elastic, more Einsteinian than Cartesian, an evocation of a world shaped by unseen forces and dark matter, a fluid, flowing, four-dimensional world in which a table can distort the space within it and around it. It transforms any space into a Zaha room.