It’s always fun to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how a favorite design is made. In the case of the Select Nelson tray table, we returned to our roots to show you the process of molding plywood—a manufacturing process we helped to pioneer.
Although the process of molding plywood is essentially same as it was in the 1940’s, when it was developed, modern technology has allowed for greater speed, precision, and strength. While the production process does utilize machinery, as you can see in the slideshow, it is certainly not automated and requires hands-on work.
The tray table, designed by George Nelson in 1955, like many of Nelson’s designs, was a reaction to modern living. New, smaller residences lacked space for a dedicated room for hosting guests. Hence the tray table, a collapsible, portable table that could be brought out for entertaining and easily stored away when not in use.
The 2011 limited-edition Select Nelson tray table features an inlay pattern inspired by George Nelson’s mid-century masterpiece, the Flock of Butterflies clock. The design juxtaposes diamonds of walnut and santos palisander veneers with white ash, finished with a process that arrests the wood in its natural, freshly cut state.