There were some structural problems that we had to fix: primarily the "wobbliness" of the frame. Without cross supports or the right gauge material, this basic "Mallett" style of table is always a bit shaky. We solved this this by using heavier gauge brass both for the legs and the shelf-supports and the difference is remarkable.
That first, wobbly, prototype had wooden shelves too - that was the original look I had in my mind; something rustic yet contemporary, industrial but refined. But as we were improving the frame, a finisher friend of mine saw and fell in love with the idea of the table and offered to lacquer the shelves in a new technique that she was working on. I consider this friend to be an extremely talented and innovative finisher, so naturally we went ahead and lacquered the shelves instead of using a natural wood finish. This was the result:
And here is a close up of the lacquer:
I really love this lacquer. The pattern is hand applied using a metallic dust that sort of bleeds out into the white lacquer, creating a soft halo-effect or shadowing around the lines. And more importantly, I like how it makes the table look. It gives it a more modern feel. However, I must admit some degree of satisfaction now that we have the table as originally thought of with the wooden shelves. Perhaps that is just because it fits the expectations I had in my mind. But it taught me a lot about the design process. There is a hard balance to maintain between your own inspiration and external inspiration. Truly, whenever I go to my friends studio, I get inspired. And I am thrilled by this lacquer technique and using it. But, somehow I am just a bit more fulfilled by seeing the table as I originally envisioned. It may be a tired axiom, but you really must stick with your vision for a project. Of course outside inspiration is vital, but I believe you must somehow take that inspiration and adapt it to your vision instead adapting your vision to the inspiration.