Bonsai cabinet

Bonsai cabinet Paul Chilton furniture designScroll to the bottom for more pictures

Meet ´Bonsai´, the miniature cabinet that will be my companion on trips out to prospective clients.

When nearing the end of making Black Swan, I started to draw up plans and sketches of my next piece. It was going to be another challenging piece that was high-end and completely original – at least that was the plan, until one afternoon summer tea break out in the courtyard talking to David Savage and his head maker Daren Milman.

Among other things, we were talking about where David has had surprising success with selling his furniture. When exhibiting at shows and providing any potential customer with more information such as brochures or business cards, he would lead them to the back of the stand where a tall slender cabinet would be waiting, ready to impress. As if pulled by an invisible force, their hands would reach out and open the exquisitely made door and pull the drawer. To use a rugby analogy, the merit of the design scores the try and the quality of the craftsmanship provides the conversion. “I´ve sold more furniture because of that cabinet than through any other way,” said David. So I took note and changed my approach for my next piece.

One of the ‘set projects´ that is used for short course projects is a small cabinet that David designed for students to take with them for job interviews. I liked the scale, proportions and the different attributes to the construction, but I wanted to overlay it with a more organic and natural design aesthetic.

Taking inspiration again from one of David´s designs currently being made by Daren, I made the carcass sides asymmetrically flared, to make the carcass look like it had been ´pinched´ at opposite corners. To exaggerate this effect further, and to keep the making challenging, I introduced a curved front that carried through the asymmetric doors and drawer front.

The drawer is semi-secret as it is opened by a push button on the back panel. Usually this might be difficult to access, but the cabinet is so small and shallow that it is easy to reach.

As this is a ´showcase´ pìece, I don´t intend to sell it and its scale is not intended for practical use, however I could see it working as a bedside table for the ultra minamalist with their futon bed. I am a big fan of Japanese design, and as soon as I envisioned this cabinet as a futon bedside table, the name Bonsai came to mind, tying in with its small, delicate scale.

The construction is solid maple carcass, laminated veneered maple doors, sonokeling Indonesian (plantation) rosewood for the back panel, drawer front and door handles.

Bonsai cabinet Paul Chilton furniture design

Bonsai cabinet Paul Chilton furniture design

Bonsai cabinet Paul Chilton furniture design

Bonsai cabinet Paul Chilton furniture design


Bonsai cabinet Paul Chilton furniture design

3 thoughts

  1. You could say, “Compelling furniture”! It’s as if that leading, front foot is tapping out a challenge. Will you, at some stage, consider trying different styles – e.g. rounded edges?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s