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DESIGN SPOT – Mark McCarthy

October 29, 2010

A big welcome to Brisbane-based, emerging furniture designer-maker, Mark McCarthy from Table-FX. You may remember, Mark spoke to me recently about a possible collaboration? Well, in the DESIGN SPOT column today, we get to find out more about who he is and what he does…

What services do you offer?

Table-FX offers bespoke furniture design and construction services with our core specialties being in the design and manufacture of tables and chairs, more specifically stools.

Describe your background and what led you to starting your business?

Having spent the past 13 years as a digital designer in a commercial sense, I’ve moved into project management and have been looking for a creative outlet – wood seemed a natural choice (no pun intended). I’ve always had a fascination with wood and one personal project led to another and pretty soon I had a range of product that has sparked enough interest to begin doing it more full time.

How did you come up with your business name?

One of the first pieces I made, out of necessity, was a dining table that had some fancy electronics and lighting inside it. Being a designer and a nerd I’ve since programmed 52 different special effects into this table which is always a hit when people see it. This concept of electronics and lighting in tables gave birth to the name ‘Table-FX’.

What kinds of projects are you working?

At the moment I’m focusing on the development of my first full range of eco-friendly stools – titled 43(3) or 43(cubed). I have set a design challenge of creating 5 functional and environmentally friendly stools with a 3-dimensional working space of 43cm cubed.

What are the most important things for you to communicate through your work?

To be environmentally friendly, sustainable and to challenge the perception of a throw-away society, whilst being innovative and hand-made with an old-fashioned feel and modern sensibility.

Are there any specific design influences in your work or do you have a signature style?

I draw a lot of inspiration from other designers who share a similar outlook on eco-friendly and organic design approaches. I also have a love of nature and am always looking to it for new ways of approaching each project. My love of nature as inspiration has gone to the nerd level with the recent purchase of Structure in nature is a strategy for design. In the past few years most of my work has revolved around the use of plywood and recycled materials, which can lend itself to a rustic feel with a modern twist. In the upcoming collection there will be pieces that will challenge the notion of slotted construction methods while retaining an organic feel to the main connection points.

Is there anything else you’d like mentioned?

The upcoming collection, 43(cubed), will be a collaborative affair with industry leading textiles designers and as such the stools in that form will be released in limited edition.

How can we contact you?

Email:, blog, or mobile: 0403 718 476.

Thanks Mark for sharing your passion and your current project. I’m really excited to see where you’re headed with 43(cubed), please keep us in the loop! Check out Mark’s blog. It’s packed with great progress photos and information as he shares his furniture-making journey… He’s definitely one to keep your eye on…


L to R, top to bottom: Slotted construction concept; Rocker Stool; Caren (Mark’s lovely wife) and Mark McCarthy; Moses Rocker

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