The shape of the table

One of  my earliest recognitions of the madness of politics was the discussions of the shape of the table of the Paris Peace Talks designed to end the Vietnam way.

i could not find a picture of the Paris peace talks table configuration

It took over 6 months to decided on the shape of the table, hampered by the unwillingness of some of the parties to sit at the same table with others.  Ultimately 3 separate adjacent tables were used – with North and South Vietnam in the center circular table.

When we at McDonogh recently we sat at the Harkeness tables which are designed for optimal communication between members of a class.

Contrast Harkeness communication with conventional class room

These tables (with there fancy slide out writing surfaces) were both heavily researched and expensive to make.  And the conversations across them were pretty good i must confess.

So i should not have been surprised when Red’s new Octagonal picnic tables took dinner this evening by storm.

A design something like Red's only with more sides

Everyone wanted to sit at it and it is clear that this is much better for conversation than our conventional tables.  And it is clear we should make more, potentially o different sizes.  We are highly social around meals and this table design will strengthen our communication.  The only questions is why we did not do it years ago.