Design is in the details…
And in this series of finely-conceived wooden furniture created by Manhattan-based designer Piet Houtenbos.
Halsey Five Credenza – Lean V shaped handles play on the meandering cathedrals within the wood grain and lend a concise definition to the cabinet’s aesthetic.
Halsey Five Credenza
Great Jones Library – “This was one of those moments where an awkward architectural cutout finally got what it deserved. We lined the existing nook in walnut to separate it from the main space, suggesting its independence and creating the feeling of a small library. We added a walnut cabinet topped with a corian slab to match the shelves above. The library hovers above the baseboard so not to interrupt the architecture and to give it a little room to breathe.”
Great Jones Library
Halsey Credenza – Halsey rethinks what handles do for a cabinet. Often, what makes or breaks a cabinet is how the handles interact with the piece as a whole and how a person relates to them.
“We think this interaction is the catalyst for great cabinet design. Handles aren’t really handles in Halsey – they become the driving force of the overall design.”
“A handle’s utilitarian function disappears and your intuition tells you how to use it.”
Halsey Credenza, customized in Walnut with brass handles.
Propeller Shelves – “The Propeller Shelves are a combination of gently shaped mahogany and laser cut steel. When designing modern rectilinear furniture the experience of woodgrain can get lost. The initial process of milling wood into linear boards creates defiant straight lines, framing the wood in direct opposition to the meandering nature of its woodgrain.”
“If you begin to shape a piece of wood with a gentle curve along its length or a soft radius at its corner, you accentuate the inherent beauty of its woodgrain. Its complementary steel bracket embodies the same design sensibility, and creates a support system in harmony with the shelf.”
The Union Nightstands use the unification of wood veneer (to create a seamless top surface) and solid wood (everything else) to perfect its elegant and simple design. The blend of materials results in subtle design details that create an overall delicate and soft shape.
“The legs for example, surpass the rounded underbelly of the top just slightly and a beautiful scalloped detail is revealed.”
Wynd Writing Desk – Wynd is a new way to think about desk storage – it’s designed to be as thin as possible while maintaining useful storage.
“Thinness poses a unique problem for old fashioned storage (aka drawers): to access anything larger than a pencil you are forced to move your chair back to pull the drawer all the way open and retrieve the item.”
“Instead, with no visible hardware (even underneath!), Wynd splits in two to reveal its contents.”
Wynd’s tray is opened by pressing down on its felt lined surface. Once fully open the tray stays open for you to get what you need or put your stuff away. Just lift up the tray and Wynd will defy gravity and stay closed. No latches locks or anything to fuss with. Its clever hardware makes it feel just like magic.
Arnon Desk – Arnon embodies a sense of softness despite being crafted in unyielding durable materials eschewing the perceptions typically associated with solid hardwood and steel. The top’s radiused corners and underbelly work in tandem with the small curved details of the drawer faces and handles to develop Arnon’s subtle soft sensibility.
Not only does the wood top surface take on a mellifluous rounded shape, but it’s complimented by bent steel legs whose curvature furthers its gentle aesthetic. The steel legs are laser cut to tapper slightly from top to bottom and then plated with a satin nickel finish.
All Arnon’s drawers are felt bottomed and the drawers on either side contain a separate felt lined top that lends some extra desk space when needed or can slide back to reveal the drawer’s contents. The Arnon Desk is the warm result of a modern rectilinear composition without a single sharp 90 degree corner.
Photos © Piet Houtenbos