Andreas Störiko was born in Cologne in 1965 and went on to study architecture and product design at the Academy for Art and Design, Stuttgart. After qualifying as a designer, he won a foreign exchange scholarship at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. It was here that he designed the mobile Confair conference range for Wilkhahn, the legendary folding table range that’s been in production since 1994. The Logon table range and the mobile Timetable seminar table followed that laid the foundations for a new generation of dynamic conference table types. Störiko created a further benchmark in the global office furniture industry with the intricate Aline multipurpose chair range. His designs have won many prizes the world over and been bestsellers at Wilkhahn for decades. Andreas Störiko, who calls himself a nomad, lives with his family in Spain, Sweden, Italy and Germany.
A folding table that stabilises itself. That almost sounds like a contradiction in terms when you think of tables in beer gardens. Is it magic?
Störiko: Magic is when something surprising happens, virtually by sleight of hand and is amazing at the same time. Anyone setting mAx up will be surprised that a process that required all sorts of nuts and bolts in the past is now so easy. The secret lies in a new, sophisticated and patented mechanism I developed: when folding out the table leg, a pressure rod appears and locks into the stand. The result is a diagonal reinforcement, in other words a rigid triangle. The design therefore makes the folding table unusually sturdy and with no play at all for the entire product life. All you need to do is press back the pressure rod to fold up with frame again. I’m surprised nobody’s thought of it before.
What’s mAx destined for and what was the brief from Wilkhahn?
Störiko: I’m well known for interpreting briefs in the broadest possible way because this is the only way of producing true innovations. Wilkhahn didn’t have any folding tables of this type in its portfolio. I wanted to design one that had a T-shaped base and was kind to knees, to the delight of anyone whose knees constantly hit table legs in the past. And above all I wanted to lend the table a floating look. Which is why the quality of the mAx tables and the way they protrude over the stands don’t look like folding tables have until now. When Jochen Hahne saw the design for the first time, his response was: “Störiko’s brought us a Porsche again!” What he meant was that it was a well-designed and functional product that wouldn’t be cheap. We’ve come up with a fantastic product, which thanks to the foot sections in three different widths can be used for a whole range of table depths. It isn’t cheap either, but thanks to the sophisticated yet high-quality way it’s manufactured it is surprisingly affordable.
What special functions does mAx offer?
Störiko: People will quickly understand that only one hand’s required to set it up. When they assemble mAx for the first time they’ll also discover even more advantages. It comes with integrated linkage options and connecting leaves. In this case everything’s been enhanced to make handling it child’s play. There’s virtually nothing you can do wrong. I don’t even need to explain it. The greatest challenge is its attractiveness. In my designs this is ideally something that comes from inside. You can flirt with a design that’s superficially attractive. But you develop a relationship with a design that’s intrinsically attractive. If you open a drawer with ten different knives you’ll choose the one that you love for the job at hand. If mAx has achieved this purpose then I’ve fulfilled my mission.
In your opinion, who are the three people you could or should bring together at a mAx table?
Störiko: I don’t have any influence over who takes what decisions at my table. A composer also doesn’t have any idea who will be listening to his music in the future. But I believe that mAx will look equally as good in a palace, a company, a conference room, a church, a wine cellar or at home and enjoyed because it is so practical. That’s what I would hope for. The design is also ideal for an age in which the internet allows people to work and hold meetings anywhere and to leave the traditional office environment. So you just have to open the boot of a Volvo estate, load up some mAx tables and shut the door. And then you just set off for places where you want to meet up and talk to other people.
Andreas, thanks for talking to us.
Click here to look at the designer’s website: http://stoeriko.net
Click here for information about the mAx folding table: www.wilkhahn.com/en/products/conference-tables/max/
You can find our making-of mAx video with Andreas Störiko here:
Click here for more about the mobile Confair folding conference table: www.wilkhahn.com/en/products/conference-tables/confair-folding-table
Click here for more about Timetable flip-top table: www.wilkhahn.com/en/products/conference-tables/timetable
Click here for more about the mobile Timetable shift conference table: www.wilkhahn.com/products/conference-tables/timetable-shift
Click here for more about the Logon tables and conference table systems: www.wilkhahn.com/en/products/conference-tables/logon
Click here for information about the Aline-S stackable chair: www.wilkhahn.com/en/products/conference-and-visitor-chairs-seating/aline-s/
Click here for more about the Aline skid-base chair: www.wilkhahn.com/en/products/conference-and-visitor-chairs-seating/aline-230-range