The Abyss Table by Duffy London: An Ocean Map in Layered Wood and Glass

The Abyss Table by Duffy London - A Terrain Map in Layered Wood and Glass

This mesmerising table was first conceived by Christopher Duffy — and ultimately refined by the team at Duffy London — to represent a 3D geological map of an ocean floor. The Abyss Table makes use of contour lines, which are often used to denote topography in terrain maps, to render an island chain and ocean abyss.

View from above the Abyss Table and the darker ocean depths

Contour lines can be thought of as workaround for the 2D limitations of paper maps, but Duffy instead relished these simplifications which have become iconic imagery for the field of cartography. He incorporates layers of wood to represent the land, and panes of glass for the water, in order to produce a 3 dimensional geographical model.

Close-up of the Layered Wood and Glass

I was looking into sheets of thick glass at my glass manufacturer’s factory, and noticed how the material darkened as they added more layers – the same way the sea does as it deepens. I wanted to use this effect to replicate a real piece of the earth’s sea bed. Like a mythical power had lifted a perfect rectangle straight from the earth’s crust to use as his personal ornament.Christopher Duffy

Side view of The Abyss Table with island peaks

A lot of Christopher Duffy’s previous works play on the theme of gravity, and our expectations that the sculptural furniture pieces will immediately collapse. His UP balloon table, Shadow Chair and tumbling Megalith Table are prime examples of this tendency, but the Abyss Table instead explores the theme of depth, and is perhaps just as unsettling.

Contour Lines from Layered Wood and Glass to Represent Ocean Floor

And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.Friedrich Nietzsche

Side view of Abyss Table by Duffy London

Layered glass becomes darker to represent depth

The Abyss Table is currently being offered in a limited run of 25 tables but the price of £5,800 (excl VAT) does put it well outside the means of myself and I’m sure most of the readers of this article. Although the Abyss Table is an object of such beauty that it’s one of the few pieces I feel I could justify purchasing if I were to suddenly become absurdly wealthy.

Contoured wood base of the Abyss Coffee Table by Duffy London

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  1. Carmen

    That’s a gorgeous piece, but …is it just a 3d render? is there a real one?

    It remind me of “delMare table”
    Have you seen it? it’s mesmerizing.

  2. Meg

    Could you provide dimensions and approximate shipping costs to Ontario, Canada? Please and thank you. This is a serious enquiry.

    1. D. Martin

      Meg my name is Deb and I live in Sask. I noted your enquiry and wonder if you got a reply. If you did, would you be so kind as to forward the info to me. Thanks.

  3. marc

    I love your work very inspirational!

    i wanted to know how you bonded the glass together? im busy with a small project of my own with a lighthouse of glass and cant figure out how to bond the glass

    1. Kane Cali

      @marc, I suspect that the images posted are 3D rendering and not the actual physical table hens why the ‘bonded’ sheets of float glass would appear flawless. If this were to be manufactured I would be inclined to laminate the glass sheets with a clear polyvinyl butyral (PVB), this would ensure that nothing gets trapped in between the glass surfaces. Simply stacking them on top of each other would lead to dust accumulation and condensation.

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