“If we want to own furniture that fits our life perfectly, we have to build it ourselves.”
– Yo Shimada

“The Utsuri Table’s great practical strength is its variability. Working, sitting together with friends,... more standing alone in a minimalist room or in a lively student apartment – this DIY table is multifunctional and acts as a focus for the activities that group themselves around it. This piece of furniture can accompany you in all of life’s situations, and its design takes account of the people who use it. A table design for modern, flexible everyday living.”

“The underside of a piece of furniture is normally neglected in the design process, but in the WERKSTÜCK 002 it’s sprayed with brightly luminous... more paints. Depending on how the table tops are positioned and how light falls onto them, these coloured surfaces reflect differently onto the surrounding materials. The colours are not noticed until they reflect. By subtly glowing, they draw the observer’s attention to the table top, bringing out its contours. What’s special about neon colours is that they aren’t really colours at all, they’re phenomena, especially because we’re reflecting them from the bottom of the Utsuri Table. The light shines onto the surfaces, confirming that we’re seeing the colour red, but physically, it’s merely an optical illusion.”

“One of the inspirations behind the modularity of the Utsuri Table were the leaves of the tree that come together and overlap when... more they float on a river, only to drift apart again. The WERKSTÜCK, similarly, folds together to form a small unit that then fans out again to suit the space. When he toured Germany, Yo Shimada visited the state library in Berlin, whose architecture is unusual because it helps visitors concentrate every day as well as they can. Its colourful split-level construction contains parallels with the WERKSTÜCK 002 design. The Utsuri Table aims to reflect the lifestyle of our epoch. The era of the heavy oak table is finally over. Today we need to design for the needs of everyday living.”

The Utsuri Table aims to furnish a room – literally: it aims to give space a purpose.

Yo Shimada is an architect and designer and has worked at his Tato Architects office in Kōbe, Japan, since 1997. He and his team... more design primarily private houses in Japan and further afield. Shimada has been awarded a long list of Japanese and international prizes over the course of his career – including the House of the Year award for a stilted Hamilton House in Brisbane, Australia.

In the second part of the WERKSTÜCK Edition series, Yo Shimada examined a subject that’s relevant in cities around the world: shrinking living space, flexible lifestyles and people’s desire for items of furniture that endure. The WERKSTÜCK 002 once again supplies an answer using DIY. If we want to own furniture which can adapt to our lives, we have to build it ourselves.

Materials and tools

DIY store materials that tell of a culture 9000 kilometres away.

The construction

Three steps to making the Utsuri Table:



1 day sawing plus 8 coats of paint and drying time

How long it takes

You’ll manage this alone

Effort needed

A room with a workbench



Get the construction instructions

Download the instructions and template for selfprinting.


You need the following things


Birch plywood BB/WG 18 × 1230 × 825 mm

x 1

Beech round rod untreated, Ø 20 mm, L 1000 mm

x 4

Konsta beech round rod untreated, Ø 10 mm, L 1000 mm

x 3

White acrylic multi-primer

750 ml

Coloured hybrid paint silk matt, glacier white

750 ml

NEON Maston spray paint, yellow

400 ml

NEON Maston spray paint, orange

400 ml

Silk matt clear artificial resin varnish

375 ml

ROXOLID WOOD-X wood glue D3

250 ml

Furniture glider selection white, pack of 125

1 Paket

You need

Portable circular saw

Guide bar

Japanese saw

80-grit, 120-grit & 240-grit

Drill with
depth stop

Wood bit 10 mm

Forstner bit 20 mm

Paint roller set with paint tray


Oblong board Konsta pine untreated, 20 × 40 × 900 mm

Useful but not essential

Mobile drill stand

Cork sanding block

Masking tape

Painter’s tarpaulin

Kitchen paper

Steel rule



Jig saw


Better safe than sorry

Ear protection

Dust mask

Safety goggles

Work gloves