Portfolio: Double bookcase

March 23, 2008

bookcase.jpgDouble Bookcase.

This piece was inspired by the work of the Arts & Crafts-era architects and furniture designers Charles and Henry Greene. But I hope that’s not obvious, even to those who know their work well. bookcasehalf.jpgYou will find plenty of furniture builders today who make reproductions of the Greene brothers’ work, or who make heavy use their favorite motifs so that the finished product is clearly “Greene and Greene.” I was after something more intangible.

I had been astonished by a chair that the brothers are famous for. It was built for the Blacker House in Los Angeles. It is full of detail, but the many details all work together. I stumbled upon a word once – concinnity – which means a harmonious blending of many different parts. The Greenes had achieved concinnity with the Blacker chair. So I wanted to design a piece with a number of different details and motifs that held together in the same way – without borrowing any of the chair’s exact motifs.

I’m not going to claim I’ve created anything close to the Blacker Chair, but I was pleased with the outcome. This version is made from mahogany with ebony accents (probably the most direct reference to the Greene brothers, as these were favorite materials of theirs). I rarely work in mahogany anymore. I prefer to work with lumber that is cut closer home. That makes it easier to know exactly where the tree came from and how responsibly it was logged.

bookcaseback.jpgThis piece also has maple panels in the back. (I believe in doing a nice job on the backs of cabinets, by the way.)

The open area between the two bookcases is to display a tall vase or small sculpture. Other versions of this cabinet could be modified so the center area includes shelves or cubby holes, depending on what you would like to display. It also could be fitted with a combination of drawers and display shelves.

The cost to commission a similar piece is about $2,500, depending on the type of wood and any changes to the center area.

49 inches long x 29 high x 13 deep

(Photos by George Filgate)

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