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Console tables are having their moment in the sun

  • Ideas and Inspiration
Jan 24, 2024
Console table designs for home – Beautiful Homes

From foyers to bedrooms, designer Pooja Bihani tells us what goes behind the conceptualisation of console tables

Once relegated to the periphery of home styling, the console table is claiming a more central and functional role in shaping the visual narrative of living spaces. The sleek profiles of console tables provide form and function, making them ideal for both narrow hallways and expansive living rooms.

 

Amidst the vibrant landscape of Kolkata, interior designer Pooja Bihani, founder of Spaces & Design curates these understated pieces for her project. The unassuming charm of a console table lies in its versatility—a compact canvas for personalisation and a platform to showcase cherished artefacts. Here we explore the significance of console tables and Pooja’s design philosophy through some of her projects. Edited excerpts from the interview.

Beautiful Homes: Can you tell us about your design philosophy and how you integrate context into contemporary console table designs?

Pooja Bihani: We make selective bespoke consoles and the design philosophy gets tied up with the ethos of that project. For example, during the execution of an art collaborative project Ashira, we were required to create a free-standing 20ft long community table. We sourced concrete blocks for the table because the project featured concrete arches. In the same project, there is a suspended hanging console at the entrance crafted out of a Brazilian quartz called Avocado marble with a deep green colour. We moulded the edges in a semicircular fashion to enhance the art that it was carrying. Since this project was viewed from an art perspective, the consoles were designed and accomplished in this manner.

Pooja Bihani of Spaces & Design – Beautiful Homes

Pooja Bihani, founder of Spaces & Design.

Semicircular console table design – Beautiful Homes

Console at project ASHIRA was hand-carved with Avocado quartz to achieve this meticulous detail in the semi-circular, suspended look.

BH: How do console tables contribute to the overall design of a space?

PB: Console tables are an integral part of any wall space or backdrop because they add character to the main piece of furniture, whether it is the sofa in the living room or the dining table. The artefacts placed over it add the right layering in context of the furniture and contribute to the space's vibe and feel.

Abstract console table design – Beautiful Homes

Japandi vibe of a home is captured in this console made with abstract legs finished in rust tone.

Bar console table design – Beautiful Homes

This bar console was cast in situ in concrete and overlaid with saw-cut oak wood strips.

BH: Kolkata has a rich cultural heritage. How do you draw inspiration from the local culture to create unique console table designs?

PB: We have a few restoration projects, where we get to tune into the beautiful past glory of the sites which have been in Calcutta for a long time and add that colonial feel. Our new project is in an old Bengali Badi, just like a Bengali house. The client, a business head at a shipping logistics business, wanted to transform it into an office space. But, he did not want a conventional office, he wanted a den or a lounge where he could work and entertain his clients and friends. The site had those typical colonial style Burma teak louvred windows, and we took a conscious call to retrofit these windows and add that rich teak flavour to the entire vibe of his den. The need for a large console with storage was fulfilled with a table designed in tandem with the overall theme. The other restoration project is a sports bar at RCGC, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club. The higher tables here are designed with accumulated old golf clubs. Their unpolished weathered appeal tunes you into the past and takes you back to that era. 

BH: How do you ensure that your designs meet the practical needs of the clients while still being visually appealing?

PB: The balance of functionality and aesthetics is crucial otherwise the console just becomes a mere showpiece. There are console designs that are only meant to serve as a tabletop to house a mirror, painting, or some curios, the ones I am referring to have integrated storage. For example, in Ashira, the two consoles and the 20ft table that I referred to before were meant for art, but the client also wanted a lot of storage because nowhere else in the living room was storage provided. Similarly, in the dining area all of the tableware and more is stored in the console.

Console table design for living room – Beautiful Homes

The console forms a divider between the foyer and the dining.

Black console table design – Beautiful Homes

A Matt black open grain finish shoe console with designed marble handles.

BH: What materials do you often use in crafting your console tables and how do you choose them?

PB: Wood and marble are used in our projects regularly. We have worked with some interesting materials and techniques too as per the project. For example, we crafted a table for a farmhouse around six years back with a rustic effect. We used Kadappa stone which was also used on the floor. We had to hand-cut it and I remember beating it myself to get that undulated uncut effect. There was also an office project, where we created a table using the Ferrocrete technique which is concrete over reinforcement. It was designed as a table integrated with seating, a free-flowing bench with the table popping out in the corner.

BH: Are there any common mistakes to avoid in choosing or crafting a console table?

PB: One of the things that I realised I used to make a mistake was paying extra attention to the console detailing in terms of design, whereas sometimes it is better to amplify the backdrop on which the console is kept or let the console complement the main piece of furniture. So, now it is about how it can add value to the space and not become a standalone single piece of beauty. A console will always hold things over it and if you make the mood board and lookbook together, it's easier to design a console imbued in the theme rather than being an afterthought. If you know the objects that will be placed over it, you can plan which colour, material and technique will make the objects or art pieces look better and complement the décor.

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