Designing For The Tabletop


Designing for the Tabletop

As designers, we believe that a well curated space has the capacity to inspire, that a room can be uplifted by the addition of a lamp, a plant, a new piece of furniture. “You see a space and are inspired by it,” explains Grovemade creative director Ken Tomita. “You want it to be part of your life.”

There may be no greater communal space in the home than the dining room. It’s where we gather to eat and converse; to drink and laugh. At its center is the table. Whether humble or grand, it’s the setting for breakfasts and dinners, celebrations and late night snacks. It’s the hearth of companionship and family. As Grovemade industrial designer Kevin Do sees it, “the tabletop is a vehicle to enjoyment.”

It’s to this treasured surface that we bring the Grovemade Tabletop Collection. Each item has its own story of design and craftsmanship. The articles in this collection are a testament to sculptural form and everyday function, told in wood, cork, and wool.

The Hot Seat

The trivet was designed in tandem with our placemat and coaster combo, and it was initially very similar to those products during its initial conception, as it too was composed of wood and wool. Yet, when the three products were placed on the table together, we realized that they had a bit too much in common. While the design of the placemats and coasters made good sense, the trivet lacked identity.

There was also a functionality issue: while the wood and wool were fine for warm plates and coffee cups, they did not fare well with much hotter objects (a baking sheet fresh out of the oven, for instance). As we discussed in which direction the trivet should move, cork entered the conversation. Soft and excellent at dispersing heat, it proved an ideal replacement for the initial concept.

Framed In Wood

Unassuming, yet capable of tying together any table setting, placemats serve to enhance the visual appeal of our dishware while bringing balance to the tools used to serve and consume your meals. Just as our plates and bowls and cups frame your food and drink, our placemats and coasters frame those vessels, creating a natural separation, while giving dimension to the tabletop itself.

Numerous materials and shapes were considered for our placemats and coasters, yet we kept coming back to the design of our sleeves for MacBook and iPad. There seemed to be a natural bridge between the two as they both deliver warmth and protection. Additionally, bringing wood into the collection ensures both depth and uniqueness in any table setting thanks to the organic variance of grain patterns, while the laser-etched design adds to the visual appeal of the placemat’s surface. Each placemat and coaster is hand-sanded until it is soft to the touch, then finished with a clear varnish.

All products are made in-house. They are available for purchase now and ship domestically and internationally from our Portland, OR, woodshop within one business day.