Sixteen Side Table

My name is Brian Hsieh. I am an Industrial Design student in my 4th year at New Jersey Institute of Technology. During my high school years, I have taken a Computer Aided Design and Animation course. My preference at the time was architecture, but after modeling a few products I became more interested in Industrial Design. I liked the idea of something I had thought of and created going into production. Industrial Design is a very worldly major and encompasses many thoughts and practices, which is why I enjoy it so much.



The project objective was to design an haute-couture furniture collection under Brian`s own brand identity. The intended collection would focus on creating interesting geometric figures, derived from right angle isosceles triangles, through shadows and voids.

Why triangles? According to Brian:

 “…they are the minimal amount of sides used to create a shape. Right angle and isosceles were the parameters chosen due to the dynamic, yet uniform structure they have. For this table, which I named Sixteen, I started off with a right angle isosceles triangle and, through multiple rotations, ended in a right angle isosceles triangle.”


There is always a genuine interest for inspirations and name choices. Brian`s table has both a unique and resonating name: Sixteen. Of course I was curious to know what made him choose this name. Well the answer was as intricate and deep as his table:

I believe rotation is the simplest form of creating an object. Knowing this, I was able to choose the amount of sides and reasoning behind it. Sixteen got its name from the amount of triangular sides used to construct the table. Sixteen also refers to a coming of age, where one grows up as an adult. This table begins as a right angle isosceles and ends in one of the same size but in with a different direction. This plays on the idea of one’s journey to adulthood, making the necessary changes to better oneself while, in the end, remaining him or herself.


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Who else can tell a story better than the person who lived it? Using his own words, Brian describes the process of making the table:

While most objects start out as sketches, I took a different approach for my table. I started out from a right angle isosceles triangle and improvised along the way. Each rotation dictated the shape of the next triangular piece. After I reached a certain height I closed it with a triangular piece similar to the one I started out with but on a different angle.

Taking the piece into Solidworks, I cleaned up the edges and worked out the faces so that each face stood out more than a gradual change in degrees. Usingthis software gave me the necessary tools to get a clear adjustment.

I cut out all the pieces with a laser cutter. I mitered the corners and sanded the ones that I knew would be more than a 45 degree connection. Each piece was numerically labeled on the face to prevent confusion. All pieces were glued together like a puzzle, while wood filler was used to fill in the gaps. All edges were filleted to prevent injury. The table was painted black to go along with the shadow theme. When looking in certain angles, the piece seems to be made up of other interesting shapes besides triangles. Upon closer inspection, the pieces reveal themselves as triangles. This plays on the eye and can easily be missed if not carefully looked at.

I chose to use plywood due to the restrictions our model shop had but my preference was creating this piece out of metal. After talking with Benjamin Mui, a student who recently graduated from NJIT, he offered to fabricate my side table out of 20 gage mild steel. I sanded the edges down and filled the gaps with steel bonding epoxy before coating it with primer and paint. The steel table, although heavier, is sturdier and less likely to tip over.


During manufacturing, especially for custom made pieces or unique pieces, unexpected things are common to happen. In this case, the only drawbacks of the table would be  its dynamic shape, which makes areas around the top and bottom of the table harmful to the user if one is oblivious. But which item cannot become our enemy if not carefully used?

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Sixteen has been featured in NJIT’s Haute Couture Furniture Fair in Newark as well as the International Contemporary Furniture Fair held in the Jacob Javitt’s Center in New York City

So, what are your opinions about this fabulous table?

If you would like to know more about Brian and his work, feel free to write us an email and we`ll be more than happy to connect you with him!

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