Credenza by Röthlisberger
Trix & Robert Haussmann
A lot of things come together here – among them a poetic idea and the craftsmanship requiredto make that idea a reality.These two pieces of furniture originated with a question, whichwas how to make modern furniture out of solid wood without having to jettison all the old cabinet-making techniques – be it framing and panelling, plinth and pediment or tongue and groove. Small modifications of these should nevertheless be possible, or so the designers agreed.
The solution they came up with is surprising. And eyecatching, too, in a pleasantly puzzling sort of way. Because the fronts of this cupboard and sideboard are a constant ebb and flow of sculpted solid wood waves and the wavelets of the grain, which together lend them the surface of a rippled pool – a changeant effect, reminiscent of the fascinating perceptual deceptions of Vasarely- or Bridget Riley-style Op Art. Not that there is any attempt at optical illusion here. These items of furniture certainly do not deny their materiality. And in this
sense have something almost archaic about them. Yet they are also very much products of today. Not only are they simple and elegant in terms in design, but they leave one in no doubt at all that their densely interlocking surface texture could only have been achieved – or achieved affordably – with the aid of high tech.
Which is true of the doors as well. The problem posed by solid wood is solved here by a reinterpretation of traditional framing and panelling. The frame is rebated into the panelling so
that the living wood has sufficient room to expand and contract and the frame itself becomes an interesting feature whenever the doors are opened. The rear wall of the Credenza alta is a mirror which doubles all the glasses and bottles on the glass shelves inside and so enhances the charm of this cupboard still further, emphatically shifting its optical centre of gravity from outside to inside. One of the salient features of the sideboard are its spacious drawers – a rarity in such pieces of furniture. Yes, indeed, many things have come together here. Above all else, solidity, subtlety and elegance.
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