Tables of the Lakes is an art project undertaken by Minneapolis resident, Kevin Tousignant. Kevin is a third year grad school student at The University of Minnesota studying Landscape Architecture and has used his knowledge of landscapes and topography to create beautiful architectural tables. The idea came to Kevin while on a skiing trip with friends sitting around a coffee table. “We where all brought together by a monumental landscape and also brought together by a coffee table, so it seemed like a logical pairing,” Kevin said while reminiscing about the inception of the Tables of the Lakes project.
Tousignant’s project turned from mountains to lakes and found it’s first subject in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, Lake Calhoun. Kevin chose Lake Calhoun as his first subject matter due to its familiarity not only to him, but to the population of Minneapolis at large. This familiarity plays an important part in the Table of the Lakes project, because Kevin Tousignant wants these tables to be centers of a larger conversation about water. These conversations can be as simple as remembering a time spent a lake with family to a more complex and in depth discussion of runoff and pollution issues not only as they relate to lake Calhoun, but all lakes. During the exhibitions where Tousignant’s tables will be viewed, he hopes to put out empty books to serve as a place for people to either write or sketch out their feelings and experiences with the lakes and with water in general. The first run of tables that Tousignant produced depict Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles and Lake Harriet – the Chain of Lakes in downtown Minneapolis. Thus, the perfect subject matter to begin discussions of the complex and complicated relationship that exists between bodies of water, and the people who live near them.
Construction of the tables is made possible by the schooling that Tousignant received in designing and modeling landscapes as well as a love of building things and a lot of ingenuity. An Autocad design program coupled with a cnc machine allows Kevin to accurately translate the topographical maps of the lakes displayed in the beautiful finished tables. To highlight the gorgeous complexity in the topography of the tables, each is constructed out of simple Baltic Birch plywood layers. They contain 10 to 20 layers of quarter inch plywood meticulously lined up and glued together. The bottoms are hot rolled steel and form a simple base for the intricate tabletops. All of the material that Kevin uses in is sourced through local suppliers in Minneapolis.
The first exhibition of Tousignant’s tables is to take place in late June or early July. This first exhibition will undoubtedly be the first of many and will mark the start of a much-needed conversation about the role that water plays in our lives. Kevin sees the potential for this project to go far beyond Minneapolis. Tables depicting landscapes from all over the country and all over the world, “can serve as catalysts” for discussions of larger issues around land and water use. Working at the crossroads of art, architecture and activism, Kevin Tousignant has created beautiful and thought provoking pieces that can hopefully bring people together to have open and productive discussions about our most precious resource, water.
Images compliments of Kevin Tousignant
Connect with Tables of the Lakes