Game Changer

The versatile Statesman Table has all the right moves.

Configured as the elaborate chessboard shown here, the Skolnik-London Statesman Table (www.skolnik-london.com) showcases the design and furniture-making skills of company owner Stephen Skolnik. But the table also exhibits his affection for “Victorian engineering and hand-operated mechanical things.” Turning a wheel built into the underside of the table changes the playing surface by activating a series of gears. The gears can flip the square block that forms the center of the table and replace the chessboard with a recessed, leather-covered backgammon board. Or they can lift the block slightly above the rest of the table, rotate it a quarter turn, and unfold the chessboard into a green baize surface that will accommodate a game of bridge. “That table has to rise up, swing out, and do a bunch of tricks,” Skolnik says. 

The table stands about 28 inches tall and is roughly 37 inches in diameter. The top is a Macassar-ebony veneer, and the sides are covered with a masur-birch veneer or leather. 

The legs are plated with polished nickel. The table’s drawers are lockable, lined with suede, and filled with nickel-and-leather backgammon stones, a camel-bone chess set, and sterling-silver bridge pencils.

The masur-birch version of the table is priced at £45,000 (about $75,600), and the leather-sided version costs £35,000 (about $58,800). Each requires four to five months to complete.  


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