A thermochromic finish helps visualize the heat produced by resting bodies

Design lovers and furniture aficionados normally cringe at the sight of condensation or scratches on the surface of treasured coffee tables or wooden seats. That's what coasters were invented for—to avoid damage, temporary or not, that might befall the pieces.

But Jay Watson actually wants to capture those effects through his uniquely designed furniture pieces. His European oak pieces—a table, low table and seat—show an imprint after a diner gets up or picks up an object left on the surface. In a photo, a man sits with a mug in his hands. After he leaves, the imprint shows his legs, arms and the round shape of the mug. The leftover marks of the mug prove especially interesting—as opposed to the marks left behind on standard tables, these imprints have a more complex shape.

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