The Periodic Table is the flagship piece in the second collection by Council, an American modern furniture company that was launched at the 2007 International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Equal parts occasional table and material experiment, the Periodic Table is a striking piece that juxtaposes a natural material and a bespoke industrial process. Named for its use of the forty-seventh element on the periodic table, a sterling silver surface envelops, yet does nothing to hide the character of the massive block of wood beneath. The table is crafted of reclaimed Douglas fir, sterling silver, a non-toxic clear lacquer and steel. The wood structure and steel base are produced with traditional woodworking and metalworking techniques. The silver plating is a proprietary method whereby a negative charge is introduced to the surface of the wood, allowing the liquid silver to be sprayed onto the piece. A natural tarnishing that highlights the wood grain is a result of the process. The final step is the application of a protective clear coat that prevents further tarnishing. In order to capture a distinct American spirit that would distinguish itself from European counterparts, all the designers of the furniture collection were asked to design pieces under the theme of “Optimism”. Optimism is a traditional American value that has been overshadowed on the global stage recently; subsequently, the challenge for each submitting designer was to capture his or her interpretation of Optimism in the design. The Periodic Table embodies this sanguinity as it is optimistic to think you can “perfect” a natural material like wood through the application of an industrial plating process. Of course, through the development one realizes that you cannot control or perfect nature. Tarnishing is an unavoidable side effect of the process and the wood withstands our attempt to neatly conceal it. At the same time, the result is a magical intersection between industry and nature, wherein silver and wood are complimentary and equally powerful.