Sisyphus Table: Where Art and Technology Merge – ReadWrite

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the King of Corinth who received punishment in Hades. While there, Sisyphus had to repeatedly roll a huge stone up a hill because it would immediately roll down as soon as he reached the summit.

However, in the case of the Sisyphus Table, there is no punishment. Instead, it delivers a meditative kinetic sculpture that doubles as a side table or coffee table. Lovers of art, technology, and furniture design will be drawn to this customizable piece. Already enjoyed as an art installation in museums around the world, this unique table is now available to enjoy at home. It features a metal ball that rolls through the sand inside the table, creating, destroying, and recreating all types of patterns.

The Artist

The table is designed and handmade by Bruce Shapiro. The company’s website provides a brief bio on his extensive artistic and technical expertise, including 25 years of creating kinetic art for museums all over the world. He is the first to introduce the idea of owning and displaying kinetic art sculptures like this one in a home environment.

Customization Options

Numerous aspects of these tables can be customized to fit your preferences and home features. Through the company’s website, it is easy and convenient to flip through the various options to design a table much like you would do on a vehicle manufacturer website. The site provides a picture of what those options would look like to see what would be arriving should you press the buy button.

First, you select the base for the side table or coffee table. If you go with the metal base, the price starts at $1,299 for the side table and $1,899 for the coffee table. For the metal table, you can choose a cherry, walnut, or black metal veneer for the table plus a warm white or natural white feature for the kinetic art area.

For example, a Cherry Metal Side Table with Warm Lights measures 22” in diameter by 22” tall. It has a welded, solid steel base that’s been enhanced by a powder coated black finish. There are also a 1/4” tempered glass top and dimmable interior LED lights.

Choosing wood means the price jumps to $7,500 for a three-foot coffee table or $10,000 for a four-foot coffee table. For example, a Cherry Metal Coffee Table with Warm Lights measures 36” in diameter by 16” tall and has similar features to the side table example. However, there are more standard veneers, including cherry, walnut, maple, and mahogany. Plus, there are premium veneers available at an additional cost.

The Driving Technology Force: Sisbot

Below the fine layer of sand found under the glass top of each table is a two-motor, hand-built robot that the company has named Sisbot. It controls a magnet, which pulls a metal ball through a programmed path that consists of polar coordinates.

The metal-base Sisyphus tables have stepper motors. They are quiet and precise, working well for the smaller tables. The larger wood-base tables use servo motors, which are just as quiet as the other type of motor but can go faster in order to cover a much bigger area of sand.

A Kinetic Playlist

The Sisyphus comes with 25 tracks of pre-programmed pathways to create kinetic art upon delivery. There is no turning the table on or off; it just keeps working. The playlist of kinetic art is controllable by using a web browser and Wi-Fi connection.

Or, you can download the company’s iOS or Android mobile app to select your favorites, put together customized lists, change the speed, pause the kinetic art, and change the table lighting.  It’s even possible to create your own designs by using Adobe Illustrator and sending the files directly to your table.

Fast Set Up

The high-tech art is simple enough for just about anyone to set up in a matter of minutes. It’s just a matter of getting the free app from the iTunes store or Google Play store. Then, plugging in the table and connecting it to the app. Get our free app, on iOS and Android. For further help, the company offers video tutorials to ensure you are comfortable with your Sisyphus Table.

Overall Impressions

This is a beautiful product made for the techie art lover that has a larger than average budget. Plus, for that entrepreneur you know who has everything, this is a truly special gift. Because each table is handmade, no piece is exactly alike, giving you or a loved one the opportunity to own something unique.

Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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