Sunday, January 17, 2010

No. 17 Ladder Drawers -Bedroom Cases Week

     Working in a single category for a week. I wasn't convinced at first, and to be fair I'm only three days in, but I think I like it. I don't think I would do it every week, however two weeks a month seems reasonable. We'll see.
      Teaching Moment: This design started in one direction, turned ninety degrees and flew off. This is not uncommon for me (can't speak for anyone else), but rather than crop the other starts out as I usually do, I left them. I thought that showing my process, unedited, might be helpful to someone out there. If you just start drawing, eventually something will stick and you can run with it.
      This piece is definitely not from your traditional bedroom suite, which is a plus in my book. Some might argue that it's function is compromised by it's design, at least for use in a bedroom. I agree completely. This is probably not where you would keep your sweaters. However, for the right items, this chest would provide a unique storage solution. The frame has a ladder effect on the sides, a feature I have been waiting for the right piece to use. The case is fastened to the frame with leather straps. The bottom shelf can be used for display. The leather element continues through its use as drawer pulls. Like yesterday's piece I don't really have a feel for wood selection. The only thought is that the dark brown leather should be accentuated by contrasting with a lighter wood species.

The Good: I love the mix of wood and leather. Don't ask me why, just one of those things. I like the honest, elemental feel of this piece. It brings bamboo fastened with reeds in some tropical local to mind (my mind at least).
The Bad: While I liked the shape of the bottom shelf in the front view I'm not crazy about it in the perspective. It may be a bad rendering, but it may need to be reworked, or perhaps made flat. This is where full scale drawings and models helps the design process.

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Torch02 said...

I definitely get the bamboo reeds vibe as well. I like the leather straps for the drawer pulls and the upper supports, but something bugs be about the lower straps. If they were loose, it would look bad; if they were tight, I would feel tense just looking at them - as if they were trying to pull the case down.

Maybe having the leather straps threaded in a through mortise, rather than just around the wood, would change that.

As for the size/function - you haven't given any scale to size it out of usefulness. While I wouldn't want it to be 6 feet tall, you could easily make it 3.5 to 4.5 feet tall and I don't think the height would be an issue. It wouldn't be your only dresser at that size, but it would work in a set. Maybe you can design a bureau that has side-by-side drawers (making the whole thing wider than tall) and bracket it within two of these cabinets. Large mirror optional ;-)

I like the ladder effect of the horizontal beams on the side. If you were to further flush this out, you should play with the spacing so the ladder rungs do not line up with the spaces between the drawers on the front. The third rung from the top in this sketch is pretty close to the top of the bottom drawer, so it affects how I perceive the drawers/rungs above it. Either there are too many drawers or not enough rungs. If the rung didn't line up with the separation in drawers, I don't think I would have noticed. You could play with the number of rungs, or perhaps vary the distance between them, similar to how drawers tend to get taller/deeper from the top to the bottom of a case.

A complete aside from the final sketch - that first drawing (top, left) reminds me a lot of the first bookcase I designed and built. I have the drawings for an updated version of it planned to go up in the next couple of weeks.

chris@flairwoodworks said...

I don't really see a ladder. What I do see is scaffolding. Definitely bamboo. Do an image search for bamboo scaffolding - it's amazing how high they go! Maybe instead of tenons, tie the cross pieces to the uprights with some natural material, maybe leather straps or manila rope... just thinking outloud here...