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Why this new table design is the cat’s meow

Photos by Lai Zhenyu/LYCS Architecture

We’ve seen architecture for dogs, with high-end projects just for man’s best friend, and now the hottest item to come out of last month’s Milan Design Week is a table for cats.

The “CATable,” a work surface that doubles as a maze for cats to play in, was designed by Ruan Hao, the principal architect at Hangzhou and Hong Kong-based firm LYCS Architecture. Hao created the piece for a showcase of design in China at the annual festival.

“We had this idea of trying to build something, which applies to our design philosophy,” Hao says. “One of our ideals about architecture is to think about architecture as connection, meaning that architecture connects things, space and people.”

The wooden table measures 170 centimetres by 70 cm (about 5 1/2 feet by two feet). The maze-like design features all sorts of nooks and crannies for curious felines to explore.

Since the table was unveiled, many people have commented that it’s a perfect solution to a familiar problem for many cat owners: Kitties love to jump up on your lap when you’re trying to get some work done on the computer.

“I know how curious they are,” says Hao, who has had pets.

The overall design was created largely through “intuition,” Hao says. But he and his colleagues did watch online videos of cats trying to get into a glass bottle in order to get a sense of cats navigating tight spaces.

“We were very confident from the beginning that cats would like it,” he says.

As for the table’s popularity – images of it and a small white and grey kitty playing in the table have proven to be catnip on design sites – Hao says it’s attributable to two reasons.

“It’s just a cool thing. It’s very down to your life. You know you can use it in different ways. I think that’s one reason why people like this project,” he says. “Another thing is, the cat is lovely.”

Hao plans to put the table into production, although it will take several months before it’s ready for purchase (the price still needs to be determined, too).

Patience, cat lovers. It will be available eventually.

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