Mallen4’s Inlaid Resin Table

Matthew Allen, the painter-turned-furniture designer behind Red Hook, Brooklyn-based company Mallen4, uses a distinct process of inlaid colored resin to add painting sensibilities to modern furniture.  A graduate of Pratt Institute, Matthew struggled to find a way of incorporating color and composition to furniture. Ultimately, he created a signature process of inlaying colored resin into a substrate material which acts as a functional surface. The pieces can be created in a wide variety of materials, including Corian, wood, metal, and plastics, in any color, from transparent to opaque. Plus, his inlaying process allows for translation of pictorial imagery onto the furniture, from corporate logos to complex abstract compositions. For today’s Deconstruction, Allen shows us what’s involved.

Once the design was finalized, I made a computer rendering with Keyshot to show the finished table in the decided space.

In my workshop, I laid out the Corian panels on horses and cauls to be routed. The panels need to be perfectly level when pouring resin in order to get an even line.

This is after the first pour of colored resin into the routed channels. The placement and color of each line is done intuitively as I build the composition. I use an epoxy resin colored with a base palette of liquid pigments. This is a very labor intensive process as each line is mixed and poured individually.

The resin is sanded flush and the process is repeated, adding to the composition. This is a close-up look at the poured resin after the second pouring.

Here are custom leveling feet, made from 316 stainless steel. The threaded rod fits into a mating hole on the bottom of the legs, and the nut is adjusted with a spanner wrench.

My Nardini engine lathe where all the stainless steel machining happens.

Here, I installed the stainless steel legs and aprons to get a accurate idea of the final aesthetic. You can also see the solid maple structure that holds the table together.

The bottom of the finished table, again showing the maple grid structure supporting the table surfaces over a span of 12 feet.

A close-up of the finished top, complete with the integral grommet insert.

The finished table in the office space.

Herman Miller chairs accompany the table. The table seats twelve people, and is ready for a serious days work.

Marni Elyse Katz is a Contributing Editor at Design Milk. She lives in Boston where she contributes regularly to local publications and writes her own interior design blog, StyleCarrot.