Book Table Geoform


Designed a book table for a single book, with exploring how 4 simple perpendicular planes can create complexity that reflects the book it displays. 

January to March (3 months)

Tools Used

Bandsaw, table-saw, chop-saw, planar, jointer, router (hand-router), drill press


Illustrator, SolidWorks, Keyshot


Physical prototyping, wood fabrication, storyboarding, 3D/2D sketching, dimension drawings

What do I want my book table to do?

One may think that a simple book table just has to have a flat surface to "hold" the book. Yet there are so many different ways that this could happen. Does the book slide in vertically? Do you place it in a slot or an open surface? Where do you touch the book to interact with it? And how does all of this relate to the specific book that I chose? All of these details were taken into consideration while constructing the book table.  In order to find the answers to this question, I started with decided what I wanted my main interaction to be.


Initial brainstorming with inspiration images and small physical prototypes

Taking inspiration from various planar furniture and architecture, I began to draw different forms that would present the book to the user so that it would be comfortable to grab. Thus, I intentionally tried to make my structure taller in order to do this.


The "Purpose" of My Book Table

I chose an illustrated book I treasured, that was given to me from a friend. I found the cover to be very mysterious - two girls jumping into a body of water. Yet I never got the chance to read it even though I always tell myself to read more.

Thus, I wanted the purpose of my book table to be a tall noticeable structure that would be able to use it form to remind the user to take up and read the book

I made small paper as well as foam-core models to better visualize my ideas in 3D. 

Focusing on one concept

Digital Modeling with Prototyping

I decided on the idea of elevating the book at the very top of the book shelf in order to make the book easier to grasp as well as show how the book table is almost offering the book to the user, inviting someone to read it. 

I constructed digital 3D models to make more efficient edits to the 3D design that I was pursuing. For example, cutting out sections from the bottom supporting boards to make the form feel lighter. 

The overall form almost "spirals" upwards with its steps in elevation from the smallest plane to the longest. This movement points one's eyes to the 


Using the book shelf structure to hide a section of the cover 

Creating a vertical slot for the book to integrate the meaning of the book into the structure

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Creating digital and physical prototype interations with a decided design

Adding to the Mystery of the Book Cover

I realized that having the book presented on the top by resting slanted on the edge of a plane and did not offer more meaning for my specific book.

I wanted to incorporate more of the individuality of this specific book I chose, This One Summer, and its curious cover design of the book.


The title stands a large portion of the book cover's middle section, and without the title, it emphasizes the ambiguity of the cover design: one of the two jumping bodies is hidden from the viewer, both faces are obscure, you wonder if they are in danger of falling into this water... Therefore, I decided to use part of the table to hide the title. This allows the book to be situated with the structure and allows the structure to respond to this specific book.


Book cover design​

Joinery and Planning the Construction 

Going Into Full Sized Models

Nearing the final design, I made more changes with my 3D model such as cutting rectangular designs into the supporting vertical boards so that they lessen the weight of the overall structure.


This was an important change because it adds to a "waterfall effect" of the overall structure - the boards spiral upwards in a step progression, reflecting the water imagery on the cover. 


Creating full sized prototypes for adjusting details in design

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Using cutouts on both supporting planes to lighten the weight of the design and to respond to each other

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A step-like design that leads the eye of the viewer to travel throughout the piece

Understanding Wood Joinery 

Throughout this process the structural integrity of the design was always a factor that guided the design. Especially with full sized models, it magnified the points where planes joined on the model and tested how structurally sound the product would be. 

The area of my structure where I had to consider the most was the attachment of the smallest board. Due to how this smallest plane used a small section to be inserted into the taller supporting boards, it has the risk of being able being loose. I experimented with creating a ledge (in the image on the left below) to add a screw at the surface under the ledge. However, I felt like this added more complexity to an area of the design that did not need emphasis. Therefore I kept to the previous joinery and added screwed through both boards instead (on the right image below). 

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Creating a ledge in order to place a nail directly from the smallest board

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Final decision was to place a nail through the supporting board into the smallest board

Storyboarding for Later Wood Fabrication

Using Sketching to Learn and Plan 

Due to COVID-19, we were not able to use some of the tools that we needed in order to create our book shelves. Therefore, instead of learning how to use these machinery with our wood planes by touch, we drew the relationships, usage, and processes of these tools. With these storyboards, it not only deepened the understanding of these tools with our boards, but also helped me practice how to illustrate a process effectively to others.

Router sketch notes.jpg

Hand router process notes

drill press sketchbook.jpg

Drill press process notes

Full Planning Process Sketch Notes .jpg

Full making of book shelf plan


To be continued (due to COVID-19)...