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Space-Age, Retractable Table Offers Sleek Vision of Space-Saving Design

While technology has yet to deliver Jetsons-esque tables and chairs that retract and disappear into the wall, a new series by a Brooklyn designer seeks to be the next best thing in small-space design. The "Ollie" collection by engineer and designer Jessica Banks, founder of the firm RockPaperRobot, offers a sleek take on space-saving furniture, with an aluminum table that slides up the wall as well as chairs and stools that fold up into inch-thick boards with the pull of a string. According to Banks, the easy-to-install, customizable collection can maximize space in multiple ways. The table could help coffee shops turn seating space in a performance venue at night, provide additional flexibility at co-working spaces, and add some breathing room to a cramped apartment.

"People compare it to a Murphy bed table, but it's not binary," she says. "It can adjust to any length in between. We're working on getting the feel and motion to be so smooth that it encourages constant change, that you'll want to pull it down."

Banks and her company, RockPaperRobot, first made a name for themselves with the Float Table, a $20,000 gravity-defying grid of magnetized cubes that, as the name implies, appeared to levitate. With Ollie, she sought to create something more approachable, affordable and multifunctional (the table is expected to retail around $3,000). Every piece has a personality, she says. Ollie, named after the skateboarding trick, is energetic, bold and fluid (in case you're curious, the Float table was envisioned as a geisha).

Designed at her studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yards, the Ollie line will officially launch later this year, after test runs at certain cafes and retail locations. Banks says the size of the table, currently envisioned at 72 inches, is really limited to the height of the wall on which it's installed. Since the surface can be swapped out with any number of options (chalkboard, cutting boards, etc.), the "sky is the limit" in terms of applications.

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