Picnic tables. They work well inside or out, and they conjure happy memories of lazy summertime afternoons spent with friends and family. They're also simple and not fussy, and they allow for clear sight lines though a space. Put another way, they are perfectly at home in the modern world. Here are some graceful picnic-style tables from Dwell's archives.
The landscape designer Loretta Gargan and her partner, the artist Catherine Wagner, frequently host dinner parties on the patio outside their house in Marin County, California. The table and benches are from Modern Outdoor. Photo by Morgan Rachel Levy.
With the classic Murphy bed as inspiration, Japanese architect Toshihiko Suzuki transformed a standard Airstream trailer into a versatile small wonder. The sides of the picnic-style table fold down and connect with benches to create bases for twin beds. Photo by Sadamu Saito.
The solid French oak dining table and bench that Nicole Hollis designed for the house that she renovated in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood were fabricated by B Serota Furniture and Architectural Design. Photo by Ben Mayorga Photography.
Carl Turner made this 20-seat table—shown here in his converted barn in Norfolk, England—from a birch-core, black phenolic-faced plywood, a waterproof material more commonly used to form concrete. The film-coated ply comes cheap, making it ideal for this kind of experiment. Photo by Christoffer Rudquist.
The courtyard behind Hadley and Peter Arnold's renovated house in the Beverly Glen section of Los Angeles serves as an outdoor living room, where their daughter, Josie, plays freely, safe from nearby traffic. The family dines here most of the year at the custom-designed wood-and-steel picnic table. Photo by Catherine Ledner.