The Design Train blogs are a series of articles researched and written by Andrew Knapp for submission to various publications and sites. The articles cover a wide range of topics and can be adapted and edited for use in various styles of media application.

  • Andrew Knapp

Corporate and Project Furniture – Choosing the Right Materials


When a client consults us on a design brief for the corporate or hospitality sector the parameters and criteria differ greatly from choosing a piece for the home. A sturdy and easily maintained surface is as essential, and as important, as the design impact that the table will bring to the overall décor scheme. Three decades of creating and manufacturing designer tables for professional Interior Designers and Architects has given us considerable knowledge in the best choice of materials for each application.



Powder-coated mild steel furnishings are not only practical, but an eco-friendly option to laminates. Image: Leonardo - Tables by Design


Two of the favourite materials used in our collections is mild steel and Oak veneer. Not only can they be crafted into show-stopping décor pieces, but also offer the durability that is demanded of our professional and corporate clients.


Apart from the obvious attributes of strength and resistance to daily wear and tear, mild steel is more environmentally friendly than laminates and joinery, and is guaranteed not to end up in a landfill at some stage in its life. It is also one of the least reactive of metals and will not corrode over time.


All of our mild steel collections are finished in a range of Ferrugrain powder-coated colours chosen to blend into today’s colour palettes, but can be customised to your client’s brief. Powder coating is regarded as a green technology and does not generate harmful solvents or airborne pollutants. This makes it safe for those who work with it, and the environment.


Image: Our Batuka Side Table is interesting, yet understated, making it the perfect lobby table.




We prefer using wood veneer in our ranges rather than solid wood for numerous reasons. Firstly, the scarcity and cost of solid wood can be prohibitive while veneers provide the same aesthetic beauty and warmth at a fraction of the price. Like trees, each wood veneer sheet is unique. Even numerous layers taken from the same tree will differ in grain detail.


Being a natural product it lasts longer than laminates and is eco-friendly, being 100% recyclable into products like fibreboard and MDF. Veneers also help in the better utilization of wood reserves as only a thin layer from each tree is used to make furniture. Where only a few solid wood items can be made from a standard tree, the amount of laminate obtained from the same tree will make numerous pieces, thus helping with the sustainability of our forests.


Natural veneers can be treated with stains and varnishes to change the shade. We offer a range of four colours for our standard collections of Oak veneer table tops, and like our frames, these can be customised according to your client’s brief. We treat all of our veneers with Jax Wax, a specially formulated coating used extensively in the high-end furniture industry. This is finished with a polyurethane sealant to protect against the general daily wear and tear that the table may face.


Image: The Drake Side Table.


Featured in this month’s blog are some of the table collections we have created with the corporate and hospitality sector in mind.



The Bakamo, Maphilo and Hombori ranges play on the idea of repeated cut-out shapes and the visual excitement that they bring to a collection. Distinctly African in feel, the mild steel construction makes them both practical and beautiful and therefore ideal in a reception area, hotel lobby, or upmarket resort suites. The coffee tables are available in two sizes and all have a matching side table.


Image: The Maphilo Range


Coffee Tables:

900mm (D) x 450mm (H)

700mm (D) x 450mm (H)

Side Table:

450mm (D) x 600mm (H)



Image: The Bakamo Range


Coffee Tables:

900mm (D) x 450mm (H)

700mm (D) x 450mm (H)

Side Table:

450mm (D) x 600mm (H)



Image: The Hombori Range


Coffee Tables:

900mm (D) x 450mm (H)

700mm (D) x 450mm (H)

Side Table:

450mm (D) x 600mm (H)



Below are three of the five new design ranges we introduced earlier this year that combine mild steel and Oak veneer in perfect harmony. In each variation, the light and airy feel of the frame belies its structural strength and is completed with a sleek countersunk Oak veneer top that brings timeless warmth to the collection.


Image: The St Germain Range


Coffee Tables:

840mm (D) x 420mm (H)

700mm (D) x450mm (H)

Side Table:

450mm (D) x 600mm (H)


Image: The Molecule Range


Coffee Tables:

850mm (D) x 450mm (H)

700mm (D) x 500mm (H)

Side Table:

450mm (D) x 600mm (H)



Image: The Vector Range


Coffee Tables:

760mm (D) x 400mm (H)

620mm (D) x 465mm (H)

Side Table:

450mm (D) x 600mm (H)




Amongst our rectangular tables, the Beta Design has been a popular choice since its introduction. The simplicity of the design is enhanced with tray detailing, while the sensible scale makes it ideal in reception areas and hotel lounges where space can be a limiting factor.


Image: The Beta Tray Detail Coffee Table


1200mm (L) x 400mm (W) x 450mm (H)



Our Emerald coffee table is ideal in areas calling for a few strong statement pieces that combine practicality and high interest. The precision-formed facets of this arresting design help the Emerald coffee table live up to its gem it was named for.


Image: The Emerald Coffee Table

1036mm (W) x 1124mm (L) x 454mm (H)




Rattan and weave patterns are a huge décor trend and our Bali Coffee Table is the perfect expression of this recurring design. Woven from geometry and light, the tables are available in two coffee table sizes and a matching side table, The Bali Range is a new addition to our three-piece collections and is perfect for resorts, spas and conservatories.


Coffee Tables: 900mm (D) x 450mm (H) / 700mm (D) X 450mm (H)

Side Table: 450mm (D) x 600mm (H)


Our Shards table would be perfect in any modern setting. This visually exciting side table invites the eye to play over a lacework of seemingly random geometric shapes that create a feeling of movement that brings energy to a space.


450mm (D) x 580mm (H)





These are just a few of the many styles and ranges we have available in our standard collection that are perfect for medium to high traffic areas. Add your personal stamp to any of these with customisation to suit your design brief. We also specialise in creating bespoke ranges and individual items that bring your creativity to life.


We look forward to including you into our family of happy clients. Wishing you all a stylish month,


Yours in Design – Frank.



This blog piece was researched and written by The Design Train for Leonardo - Tables by Design's monthly blog feature.

All images were sourced from the internet and have been credited where possible



Words © Andrew Knapp (Author)

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