Interview with designer Maurie Novak (MN), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Prism Coffee Table.

For High-Resolution Images & More Info Visit:

Interview with Maurie Novak at Monday 14th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
MN : It is hard to define a single principal or idea as being behind the design of Prism. I would say that a deeper goal I have with this design and other, is a desire to create a balance between opposing concepts. Composed of a minimal frame, which holds within it a complex array of elastic, Prism's frame is created using modern technology, whilst the elastic has to be painstakingly threaded by hand. Its geometry weaves a complicated pattern which is in fact the result of only two simple equations. Its frame is silver stainless steel which radiates into a rainbow of colour. It is only by uniting these opposing ideas that Prism is able to form a balance.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
MN : My main focus in designing this piece was to completely perfect a design that I felt was worthy of being refined. I wanted to take the opportunity to take one of my designs and make sure every aspect of it works perfectly, without fault or flaw. I have conceptually designed hundreds of ideas, I have built tens of these concepts myself, but I had not until now taken one of my designs from being a one off, to being a refined manufacturable design.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
MN : I have until recently been working for others. Recently, I launched my own company and am taking on projects that I am passionate about and want to pursue. This piece of furniture is the first piece that I have had the opportunity to fully develop, and aim to find the right avenues to begin selling this piece. I am using this piece as a jumping off point for my business, hoping it will lead me to a point where I can develop further design concepts.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
MN : I came up with the basis of this design about a year and a half ago. I left it in the conceptual stage for quite a while, just considering it and refining it before attempting to build it. It took me about six months and a few prototypes to come to the finished design.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
MN : Prism was designed as the pursuit of an idea. I wanted to see how I could integrate string art into a living environment in a functional way. This was my starting point - as I continued, I found lots of areas that I wanted to investigate.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
MN : At this point I have produced a limited run of the piece myself. I am currently finding stores and galleries to display my piece. I may soon produced another lot of tables, but in the long term I will have to evaluate my options of how it is best to produce and distribute this table.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
MN : String art has always struck me as being quite beautiful and expressive. However it is a type of art form which in general can be appreciated either by having a two dimensional artwork on ones wall, or as an instillation piece viewed in a gallery. I wanted to take this concept, and try to give it form in a functional way, a way that one can have a large scale piece of art to appreciate, but for it to fit into an environment in a practical way.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
MN : There has been a lot of string art appearing across the internet over the past few years that has proved inspirational. I would say that in particular the beautiful works of Gabriel Dawe helped to inspire the creation of Prism.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
MN : By virtue of the expensive and difficult production process of making this piece, Prism would be targeted at a higher end consumer. However I am aiming to develop further pieces with different production methods and materials which could be available to a wider market.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
MN : To be honest I have not yet come across pieces of furniture that I know of that have the same principals and complexity. I may be wrong, but as far as I know Prism stands alone in its uniqueness as a table containing a sculptural piece of this sort.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
MN : The name Prism developed along with the design. Beginning the design process for this piece, there was a world of variability and possibility available to me. Needing to refine and set some rules by which I could design my piece, I used a prism as inspiration. A prism has a triangular form which refracts light into a rainbow of colours. This tool informed the colour choice and form of the design - leading to the name 'Prism'.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
MN : I worked with a local metal fabrication company called 'Wade Fab' to produce the steel frames for my table.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
MN : Technology plays a key role in the production of Prism. A laser cutter is used to evenly drill the 196 holes that make up this table. A CNC router is used to rout a channel into the tables frame. Without the use of these technologies the table would not be able to be produced as perfectly as it is.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
MN : There were many challenges that I faced in the realisation of this concept. Materials, and material strength was always a challenge which almost saw this design scrapped along the way. I like to be uncompromising in the realization of a design. Having a frame that is 16mm thick, and is able to support the glass and the elastic within it was quite a challenge. Material selections for the strings was challenging, as string was just inappropriate for the project, and finding the right type and weight of elastic was not easy.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
MN : I first released images of my design on the internet, and it found its way only many design blogs. Seeing how well received it was, I decided that I may as well give it a go and enter it in this competition. The worst thing that could happen is not winning.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
MN : I have and am still learning a lot about taking a project from a concept through to a manufactured piece - it is a challenging process which I am really grateful I have the opportunity to undertake.