Table Cloth

Posted by on April 23, 2012

I think a lot about waste in the entertainment industry. At this point there are very few good solutions, we have to build sets and transport people and equipment to locations. We can be as intentional as possible, but there is no way around some waste. Every time a set is dismantled a good portion of it ends up in a dumpster. The sad truth is, it is almost always more cost effective to trash it than to pay to store it somewhere. Pretty much the only time we save something is if there is a new use for it immediately.

This piece, Table Cloth by Ball-Nogues Studio, was a temporary performance space and was created with a plan for re-purposing its component parts.

The space is composed of hundreds of interconnected low tables and three legged stools. Each was fabricated for this installation, at the end it was dismantled and people were invited to take them home.


The furniture pieces were linked together to form a “cloth” and suspended in the courtyard of a building in the UCLA Music School. Where the “cloth” meets the ground it unrolls to form a performance area. The performers and audience were invited to sit on and interact with the installation. During its time in the courtyard it was used for many activities including musical practice and performance, lectures, academic discussions and casual conversations.

The hope is that the space helped to facilitate community within the university and the school of music. It also made the space a more inviting place to listen to music by reducing reverberation and helping the acoustics of the courtyard.

From the Ball-Nogues Studio website:

“By using a consumer good as its basic building block, the project expands and critiques notions of “green” architecture. As a visual concept, the installation serves as a symbolic gesture of sustainability and a poetic reminder that the buildings and temporary pavilions we construct are impermanent: frozen moments in an ongoing flow of products and materials. Outside of its environmental considerations, the Table Cloth dramatically re-contextualizes consumer products – symbols of mass consumption and standardization– into alternative gestures of hope and one of a kind manufacturing.”

What’s more, it looks super cool, like a giant spiky anemone.

Of course, this kind of thing is not the answer for most of the entertainment industry scenic waste, but it is an amazing “outside-the-box” solution for this project.

coffee table after the installation was dismantled

All photos by Scott Mayoral from the Ball-Nogues Studio website

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