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Island Cabinet (The Making Of)

This piece originated from my desire to push the boundaries between design and artistic expression. When designing furniture, I find it interesting to manipulate materials to do things that you wouldn't expect; to be beautiful and refined, but also to surprise the user and make them think about how and why a piece was made. This induces a conversation between the product and user, as the user seeks to understand and interact with the product.

With this is mind, I wanted to design a cabinet with a distinctive feature that would allow the material to be expressed in a unique way.

While developing materials, I found that with the right stain of wood, some specialist sanding techniques and an organic shape, wood can be transformed into this sublime form. So I set out to find a shape that would complement the finish.

It didn't take long to realise that a landscape would work well, and after hours of research, I came across the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora. This island is not only a popular tourist destination, but it also has a very interesting geographical history. The island has a unique landscape as it is formed from an extinct volcano, surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef.

In order to get the Bora Bora form to integrate seamlessly with the rest of the cabinet, without too much wasted wood, blocks of walnut were added onto the top piece, which is then routed out on a computerised machine. This is then sanded down by hand to achieve the perfect finish. The smooth, natural curves of the island contrast with the mid-century feet, making this a playful and adventurous piece which will be eye-catching in any room.

I shot the cabinet with my Leica CL, and Emily Jeffery made an animation that can be seen here - definitely worth checking out her website too.

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