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Artful Analog Gaming Tables by James de Wulf

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Cement, aggregate, and water are to concrete as ingenuity, artistry, and vehemence are to craftsman James de Wulf. His artistic bravado, tempered by humility, shines through in his design vision, gracing covetable spaces designed by the likes of Frank Gehry and Albert Hadley. Recently, his custom creations have contributed to a re-emerging subgenre of home furnishings – analog gaming tables. This lineup includes ping pong, pool, poker, shuffleboard, mahjong, chess, and backgammon tables, with plenty of room for more.

Since selling his first Ping Pong table to Steffi Graff and Andre Agassi in 2009, de Wulf has seen exponential growth in demand for these low-tech entertainment pieces. Reflecting on this trend, he notes, “I like video games myself, but they separate you from your present surroundings. With analog gaming, you enhance your environment with fun, competition, and maybe even exercise.” De Wulf’s clever concepts extend to corresponding accoutrement, like custom chips for the Exo Imperial Poker Table, nodding to the brand’s graphic language.

The avant-garde Exo Series architecture, showcased on the Mahjong Table, distills form through physics, pushing an organic skeletal structure to the exterior as it fortifies the concrete flesh. “Imagine playing under a microscope, finding beauty in natural patterns and intricate surprises of microorganisms,” adds Dot de Wulf, the Chief Operations Officer. This multidisciplinary design studio approach ensures that each idea evolves into something greater, adhering to the growth patterns in nature.

The custom product offerings, like the Exo Mahjong and Imperial Poker tables, balance form and function beautifully. The Exo Mahjong table, with its feminine silhouette and sand casted bronze border, combines soft felt and a generous lip to prevent losing tiles. Meanwhile, the Imperial Poker table, designed for Texas Hold’em, features a sunken playing area and a wax finish encouraging the exoskeleton’s patination, giving it a Bond villain lair aesthetic.

De Wulf’s Billiards table, a classic from the brand, is constructed of carbon fiber reinforced concrete with premium black felt. This sturdy structural furnishing provides a satisfying kerplunk as balls sink into its pierced leather pouches. Similarly, the Shuffleboard table, a 9-foot slab of concrete, ushers pucks across its smooth glide surface effortlessly.

Versatility is key in de Wulf’s designs, exemplified by the Ping Pong table. This concrete, carbon fiber reinforced, regulation-size table can be used for dining when not in play, accommodating up to twelve seated comfortably.

James de Wulf’s work exemplifies the intersection of art, function, and design, with each piece showcasing the capabilities of a multidisciplinary design studio. His Exo Series and analog gaming tables are not just functional items but pieces of art that transform spaces and enrich experiences. For more on his concrete fantasia, visit jamesdewulf.com.

Story production and photography courtesy of Head & Hand unless otherwise specified.

Joseph Sgambati III, with professional degrees in architecture and journalism, aims to make living beautifully accessible. He serves as the Managing Editor at Design Milk and has contributed to titles under the SANDOW Design Group.

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