a Leap from ballet to a one-ton Table
After college, HENGE founder Alan Good joined a world-class experimental dance company.
In 2008 he took a couple months to recuperate from plantar fasciitis. One day to avoid going stir crazy he checked the web for US-based concrete tennis tables like he saw in Berlin. (Berlin has 1500 concrete ping pong tables.) He found two. 2008 was a year when new companies seemed to sprout daily. He quoted a concrete kitchen countertop from a local pre-caster.
Alan’s friends asked him how he went from leaps on a stage to pouring one-ton concrete tables. Both outdoor ping pong and dance theater draw people together. People linger and strangers mix in a public place. In some ways they are our only hope today. If an object like a table can foster that—that’s good.
Against the advice of the marketing department, HENGE donated a table to a local park. Two weeks later the New York Times covered the table and the regulars who had started to play it with a large spread and photo. HENGE was born.
We supplied municipal parks and Navy bases, then schools and mixed-use development.
Our passion with the design was negative space—how you provide for stuff around your object. With a ping pong table in a courtyard or park, that negative space is a positive—it’s where people flow, stroll, glance at the activity by the table. They feel different. Durable concrete with a nice hand polish performs.
We also designed in space underneath the table. We cut the base away. We carved it with S-curves and empty portholes. We made the table float. It is concrete and solid. If you push it with your hip, it doesn’t budge. But it also floats. We borrowed from modernism, tried to make something clean that had grace.
If you design and construct with an eye to quality, durability, longevity, color to separate it from the prevailing palette, and near-zero maintenance, you have something. But if it looks good, the object gives back to the lines and movement of the space where you put it.
The result is an object that looks great in any season, in any light, alone or with people playing on it. Concrete is beautiful.
HENGE benefits from its craftspeople who pass down knowledge from generations, through family businesses.