The Great Picnic by Mark Reigelman II

October 2, 2014

Brooklyn based artist Mark Reigelman II has designed a modular picnic table for 100 people named, The Great Picnic. It is located outside of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, OH.





Project description

Picnicking has been fundamental to the enrichment of American social fabric and for decades the picnic table has been paramount to this en plein air interaction. Today the simple and iconic wood structure of picnic tables highlights a convergence of people and ideas. It is a place at which family, friends and total strangers come together to discuss, debate, laugh, cry, yell, whisper, support, critique and most importantly eat!

The goal of the design was to create a modular unit that conceptually reflected the confluence of people and ideas that picnic tables encapsulate. Through subtle shifts in form, color and material The Great Picnic highlights this intersection while still retaining the identity of this simple structure.

“To destroy the form is to destroy the history and characteristics that go with it. It is imperative that the identity of this icon remains intact!” M. Reigelman II

Each modular unit consists of seemingly three individual intersecting tables. Each bench and table surface is made from a number of certified reclaimed woods ranging from Heart Pine and Knotty Douglas Fir to African Mahogany and White Oak. The variety of wood species and colored stains is intended to directly reflect this notion of a confluence of identities and ideas that a picnic table highlights. The substructure of the table is welded and powder coated aluminum which was necessary for the substantial cantilever of the benches.

Each modular unit is approximately 12′ across and weights approximately 1,000 lbs. When the units are connected they cover a distance of over 60′ and can hold approximately 100 people.

The Great Picnic is located adjacent to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland in the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) plaza named for philanthropist Toby Devan Lewis, located along Euclid Avenue in University Circle’s Uptown development.

The new Director of the Putnam Collection, Kathy Barrie, invited Mark A. Reigelman to propose picnic table designs that seated 100 people. After several design phases THE GREAT PICNIC was chosen. The goal of the Putnam Collection is to enrich the visual and educational environment of the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) campus and of University Circle area by developing awareness and understanding of the variety and vitality of the work of our regional artists.

THE GREAT PICNIC was made possible by the generous contributions of The Cleveland Foundation and Toby Devan Lewis.

This project was developed and fabricated by Communications Exhibits Inc. (CEI) located in Canal Fulton, Oh.

Design: Mark Reigelman II

Engineering: Paul Dannels of SDI Structures and Paul Endres of Endrestudio.

Photography by Mark Reigelman II and Marty Hudzik of Communications Exhibits Inc.