by Jim Spadaccini, creative director January 27th, 2020
Building a twenty-one-foot multi-screen touch table with embedded electronics is a significant design and fabrication challenge. When the table is also covered with tens of thousands of dollars of beautiful white Italian marble, it really becomes something special. Last year, international design and consulting firm IDEO reached out to Ideum to bring to life a unique concept for one of its clients – a giant marble-clad touch table with three fully integrated 86” multitouch displays that could accommodate up to 20 users simultaneously.
Built to welcome staff and partners to a unique corporate training center, the table needed to have a stunning design with meticulous attention to detail, and also be fully functional with built-in multitouch displays, motion sensors, and LED lighting. Ideum created the shop drawings and worked with architectural firm Gensler, IDEO and the end client to ensure that the table and its materials matched the interior design of the training center.
The table was fabricated in sections at Ideum’s fabrication studio. The interior structure was cut out on the studio’s CNC, glued up, and then fiberglassed to provide additional strength for the heavy Italian marble that would cover all sides of the table. Articulating steel hinges were designed and machined to allow each end of the table to bear the extreme weight of the marble-clad interior access doors. The marble was cut and applied by a local partner, Rocky Mountain Stone. Upon final assembly with the stone and screens in place, the table weighed in at 5,500lbs—nearly three tons!
In addition, Ideum built three 86” Inline multitouch displays which are specifically designed to be embedded into furniture. These multitouch displays use Ideum’s custom frame and have LG commercial panels and Zytronic touch technology. (This 86” display is also the heart of Ideum’s standard Colossus touch tables.) Ideum also designed and implemented a sensor array around the kick (or base) of the table. The array utilizes 88 sensors and nearly 1,000 LED lights. As visitors approach, the lights change color to recognize their presence. Ideum developed the software for the sensor and LED system and worked closely with Second Story, who designed the software for the touch table. Ideum also developed an API and diagnostic tools for the sensor array, allowing it to be more easily integrated into the touch table software.
This project was a tremendous challenge; it isn’t every day you are asked to build a table so large that it has its own crawlspace, and so heavy that each section must be moved with a forklift. At the same time, the project was extraordinarily rewarding, as our team worked with great partners and pushed our design, fabrication, and technological skills to new levels. We are very proud to have such a diverse and skilled team of designers, engineers, fabricators, and developers to tackle such complex projects—and we look forward to the next one!