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Tetrahedron Toroid Table: M.1-2016

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Object information

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Tetrahedron Toroid Table


Maker: Baier, Fred




English oak and M.D.F. with polyester lacquer and mica enamel

Legal notes

Given by Nicholas and Judith Goodison, through the Art Fund

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2016-01-25) by Goodison, Nicholas and Judith


20th Century, Late#
Elizabeth II
Production date: AD 1995


Text from object entry in A. Game (2016) ‘Contemporary British Crafts: The Goodison Gift to the Fitzwilliam Museum’. London: Philip Wilson Publishers: Fred Baier studied furniture at Birmingham College of Art followed by an MA at the Royal College of Art in London. He established his first studio in Birmingham in 1975 with the aid of a Crafts Advisory Committee Major Award and moved to his current studio in Wiltshire in 1989 on return from a three-year residency in New York. His internationally recognized forty year career has been built through exploring and building innovative structures for contemporary furniture which draw on an interest in geometry, industrial history and different material qualities such as colour and pattern. He has worked as a consultant to the Design Council; ABK architects; Terry Farrell Architects; and Mister Luna B.V. furniture Italy. He has taught at the Royal College of Art, London and has furniture in numerous public and private collections including commissions for Oxford Management Centre, Hackney Museum and the House of Lords. He traces his early interest in making things to the influence of a grandfather who taught him the rudiments of woodworking and left him a set of tools. Whilst still at school in Hull he worked in a local factory making ships’ binnacles and doing bar fitting and as a student in Birmingham he spent most holidays working for an industrial pattern maker and spent time shuttering concrete for the M6. This wealth of practical making experience underpins the fluency of Baier’s work but it is his ability to harness computing as an inspirational tool for designing and making in a studio context that has made him a leader in the field. He is fascinated by the shift from the industrial to the digital age and as early as the mid-1980s worked with a 3D modelling programme, VAMP, to render a computer sketch of a prism-form chair, now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Tetrahedron/Toroid Table is a fine example of Baier’s fascination with sculptural and geometric form that is enabled by these new tools. As he says of it himself, ‘A tetrahedron, standing on its own and at rest will always present one of its points upwards. By combining it with an interpenetrating doughnut, that is chocked to prevent rolling, the two simple solids help each other to present a useful triangular surface’. ‘What Baier does is what Henry Moore did on the seashore. Moore walked on the seashore and found objects he could later twist into sculpture. Baier uses the computer to turn up three-dimensional forms from the seashore of mathematics.’ Peter Dormer (1949–96), critic and author Fred Baier: ‘I met my first computer boffin in the days when a computer filled half a room and we have now passed a point where computing is used at every stage of design and development: I feel pleasure in taking part in this transition in design. Nevertheless my approach is more that of an explorer than a designer and I still find a pencil the quickest route from brain to image.’ A life history interview with Fred Baier is available at

Components of the work

Table Top Length 50 cm Width 50 cm

Materials used in production

English Oak
MDF Wood
mica Enamel
polyester Lacquer

Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.1-2016
Primary reference Number: 208431
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Wednesday 16 March 2016 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Tetrahedron Toroid Table" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-21 21:13:28

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