table games [ chess table ].

CHATURANGA CHESS-TABLE<< previous | next >>

The 'chaturanga chess-table' is a hybrid chess not because of its functionality because as a game it works perfectly but because of its long and complex history. It meant to us a big challenge to create a chess table being one of the most beautiful, abstract, strategical and peaceful games we know.



Visually we show its historical complexity with mainly three elements:

Firstly, the four wooden table legs are made in a form of a cartridge which's projectile is blocked or "frozen" by a piece of acrylic.

Secondly, the Sanskrit word "chaturanga" refers probably to a very old game in Ancient India which means "4 elements" indicating the Indian army that consisted of soldiers, horses, chariots and elephants. From that name derives the Persian word "chatrang" - a famous game later on played by the Arabs with red (ruby) and green (emarald) stones. The colours we used for the chessboard, that means green in Murano glass and red in wood, emphasize this background.

Lastly, the choice of the chess set in the typical and timeless Bauhaus style which eliminated any symbolic association to war or metaphors to a battlefield and reduced forms featuring shapes like cubes, cylinders and balls in order to concentrate on its true functionality. The design of each piece has its individual character and indicates the type of its manoeuvre.


We identify with all these three elements which makes this piece one of our typical anthropological limited editions.



As all of our furniture pieces also this one has its own story again which we like to share. We used to work with a tuner, a very old and fascinating artisan. As a child he grew up in the Bolognese Apennines, a place known for being the hiding spot of the Partisan fighters during Second World War. Usually we asked our friend Martello to tune antique forms like balustrades but then we wanted to do something new and we asked him to tune a "gun bullet" but much bigger. This peaceful man did it with his closed eyes! He remembered very well his childhood and how many of projectiles he found in the gothic line of these mountains. When he passed away few years ago, we still had his table legs and it was hard for us to imagine an appropriate use considering its controversial symbolism and let's admit also doubt to use it in our current design world. Well, time passed and we got more and more interested and convinced of the contemporary social importance of table games.


By the end the "chaturanga chess table" turned out to be a visual statement by Hillsideout.


Photo: Nat Wilms


Used materials: handcrafted woods of chestnut, maple, elm, muirapiranga and olive tree, coloured Murano glass, acrylic, resin

Dimension: cm L 75 x D 75 x H 75

Unique edition: 10 + 1 a.p.


Concept & Design: Nat Wilms & Andrea Zambelli