Former Merce Cunningham dancer Alan Good knows a thing or two about engaging an audience. And while he no longer performs on the world’s stages, he’s still attracting audiences through his fun and eye-catching concrete ping pong tables, which he calls “playable sculpture.”
Founded in 2009 and based in New York City, HENGE tables are built to International Table Tennis Federation specifications, can be found in public parks and campuses across North America, and are now expanding to commercial and residential spaces.
According to Good, the table promotes fitness and social interaction, and introduces art and beauty into public spaces, a concept Good first became aware of in Munich, while spending summers with his German grandparents.
“I felt first-hand what it was like to be able to crawl through playground sculptures created for kids,” Good says.
While concrete ping pong tables are familiar in Europe and Asia, Good had never seen any in the United States and, in a light bulb moment, began floating the idea to different people, including an advisor at the Small Business Administration.
What was just wishful thinking on his part became a reality, and today HENGE tables have been featured in publications ranging from “The New York Times” to “BusinessWeek” and “Table Tennis Nation.”
The tables are offered in a choice of finishes (silk or exposed aggregate) and net colors (black powder-coated or stainless steel). The table’s dimensions, matte surface, ball bounce and optional lines are all regulation, although its corners are rounded to protect both small children and the table itself.
Although based on a European inspiration, HENGE tables are designed and made in America. “I’m very proud of this table’s looks,” says Good. “But more important than beauty are the slowing pace and stares an in-progress game kindles in people who walk by, whether it triggers memories of their childhood or invites them to pick up a paddle and ball.
“The aim of the company is to make something that allows people to mix,” Good continues. “The only hope we have is how we live together.” To learn more, visit www.hengetable.com.