They say that nothing ages faster than the future. This is never truer than when technology meets furniture design.
I have just been sorting through the archive and was thrilled to find one of my first furniture designs. It was for Rank Screen Advertising in Wardour Street in London and the CEO’s office.
He had the usual massive desk and meeting area and wanted something to sit the television on. I could not resist making a table with a single leg out of a stack of wobbly film cans. The top was also based on a film spool with a space for the video recorder inside the spool and stencilled sprocket design on the surface.
Since those days many years ago, televisions have become bigger and bigger. For some they are a status symbol, the bigger the better and to be on show. Others want to tuck them away and see them only when in use. To hide them away there are masses of options from concealing behind a mirrored finish, to screens that become images when not in use and look convincingly like artworks, to televisions that disappear up or down into ceiling, walls or pieces or furniture.
Over the years I have specified many of the above mentioned high tech options, all remote controlled and tidy. Sometimes however the
Lord Bath wanted a bespoke piece of furniture for his television to sit inside for his Penthouse Apartment at Longleat. His theme was “the 21st century and the television had to be viewable from his desk, sitting area and bed. There was really only one sensible location and this was on the chimney breast (the fireplace having long gone.) Storage was also an issue, so that also had to be built in.
My solution was a massive cylinder that grew out of the wall.
My rocket like design was constructed from sycamore with tamboured doors so the whole piece could be closed, with contrasting walnut and chrome detailing. The only issue was weight. My original designs featured a glass foot that would be illuminated to visually lift the whole piece however the floor of this Elizabethan building was not strong enough to take the weight so we had to work out a way of bracing it to the wall. The most suitable route was to change the glass (which was also heavy) for a stainless steel brace on which the entire piece would sit, it also being braced at the back, into the wall. It’s still there 15 years later and the tambours still work perfectly.
For a client in Sydney whose brief was “sumptuous” I created a piece with delicious veneers to sit beneath a window. The doors for this were neat bi-folds and the internal veneer as lovely as the exterior.
For a contemporary Family Room I designed a piece that was simple and sleek.
For a contemporary, sophisticated space we needed something stylish and simple. Being a high end rental the emphasis was as little high tech and as future proofed as possible. It was a large double height room and all sleek as an otter. So I felt the television cabinet needed some texture and visual interest.
I therefore designed a bookcase with smart white faux books with simple and easy to use bi-fold doors. The piece gives visual interest to this end of the room and I always love a bit of trickery.
In my own home, the television is hidden inside a Georgian flame mahogany cabinet because I find the big black faceless television a bit off putting and too dominate when the room is used for anything else than watching it. Personally I like the focal point to be a fireplace or something sociable around a coffee table or if you’re lucky enough, out onto an amazing view. What could be nicer…