When looking at the Endless Nile Table, one might wonder whether it is an actual piece of furniture or rather a work of art. It doesn’t reveal its practical function at once but stands more like a sculpture: sublime, sensual, perplexing. The table’s infinite loop recalls M.C. Escher’s lithograph Ascending and Descending, where groups of people circle eternally on never-ending Penrose stairs. But other than Escher’s impossible figure the Endless Nile Table is a very tangible object.
Designed by Karim Rashid as part of his Kairobjects collection and manufactured by AMR Helmy Designs, the table’s undulating curves are inspired by the slow and perpetual flow of the Nile River. Its Cairo-born and Canadian-raised designer is a real all-rounder. Luxury goods, furniture, lighting, surface design, brand identity and packaging make up his body of work. He is also the author of several books, including a manifesto reflecting on his far-reaching vision of design and how it relates to the world we live in:
Design is about the betterment of our lives poetically, aesthetically, experientially, sensorially, and emotionally. My real desire is to see people live in the modus of our time, to participate in the contemporary world, and to release themselves from nostalgia, antiquated traditions, old rituals, kitsch and the meaningless. We should be conscious and attune with this world in this moment. If human nature is to live in the past—to change the world is to change human nature.
Many of Rashid’s works evoke the vibrant colours and round shapes of pop art. The Endless Nile Table however is a little different. Its voluminous curves resonate the designer’s fondness for blobism, whereas the white DuPont Corian or oak wood surface give the table a rather unobtrusive yet complex appearance. Even though the table may not fit in any living room, its combined seating solution and fluid design make it highly welcoming.