South West England
The Queen's College, Oxford
The Queen's College, Oxford required a table to be designed that would accommodate 32 diners for its new dining room. The design needed to reflect the contemporary style of the room but be mindful of the Grade I historic setting.
The design intent was to create one single 8m-long table. Benchmark came up with the unlikely suggestion that it could be made out of a single length providing a suitable oak butt could be found that was long enough.
The design solution to stop it bowing came in a tensile rigging under the table with a spreader arm lifting at the centre. The table stands on simple oak trestles at either end and the tensile rigging serves not only to counteract the bowing moment, but also to pull the joints of the trestles together. By doing this, the table has minimal under structure and interference with diners’ legs.
The log took 6 months to locate. At 11m long, it was the longest planked oak log that any of Benchmark's sources in the timber trade had ever known. To machine the oak Benchmark had to cut holes through the walls on either side of their workshop enabling the timber to be fed in through one wall, across the planer in the middle of the workshop and out through the opposing wall.