Sophisticated tables and chairs you can hang from a coat rod

Jennifer Karmon

Are these the most compact, space-saving table and chair ever made? Designer Alexander Gendell thinks so.

The Cricket table, available online starting Oct. 22, and the Leaf chair, available now, each fold quickly and easily into a hard-to-believe thinness of 2 centimeters -- less than three-quarters of an inch. They're designed to hang on a coat rod in any standard closet. One Cricket seats two people, but you can clip as many of them together as you like.

The two pieces comprise his Folditure line, "architecturally crafted" to be physically practical yet sophisticated. Gendell studied architecture at Cornell University, and told Yahoo! Homes that his approach is heavily informed by the time he spent in Japan and in Europe -- particularly Vienna, which "exposed me to the blend of design, mechanics and technology."

"Vienna was inspirational with its beautiful architecture and attention to detail," he said by email. "For example, I remember walking into a building designed by Adolf Loos and noticing that every brass screw holding together the woodwork was turned precisely to the same angle. I love that!"

He said he tries to distinguish himself by adding "a fourth dimension to my designs: time. From furniture to high-end residential projects, my concepts intersect antique styling and mechanical modernism."

As you might expect, such ambitious work comes at a price. The Cricket with silver frame and textured silver tabletop is $1,680; the Leaf is $940 for a silver frame with exposed rivets or $980 for a silver frame with a laminated backrest.

But as Gendell points out, "The first folding chair (as far as we know) was actually a portable throne for the pharaoh -- so a pretty high-end item!"

He thinks the casual folding-chair and folding-table forms we've come to know have been "degraded,"largely because designers haven't been inventive enough with the folding mechanism. "The Egyptian front-x, and Renaissance side-x solutions just do not lend themselves to either storability, comfort or stability. ... With living space at a premium, it is time for some really good solutions for folding and storage."