Unique Designs: The Magistral Cabinet by Sebastian Errazuriz
Chilean-born, New York-based artist, designer, and activist Sebastian Errazuriz isn’t happy simply designing nice things to please the eye. Through his unique designs, the internationally acclaimed creator wants to provoke some thoughts and make exceptional pieces, tackling everything from political artworks to experimental furniture. Just take a look (but do you dare to touch?) at his Magistral Cabinet and Chest, the porcupine-like pieces that can hide and protect your most valuable treasures inside its spiky shell.
Magistral Cabinet takes the quills from the Porcupine Cabinet to the extreme. Like the protective layer of a chestnut, Magistral Cabinet incorporates an exterior layer of 80,000 sharpened wood dowels, placed by hand one at a time until the cabinet is ready to symbolically protect the belongings of its owner. A set of concealed doors slides open to reveal its inner mechanisms and each of its many compartments.
The sculptural cabinet continues the artist’s investigation into the boundaries between functionality and symbolism, walking the fine line between art and design.
The obsessive and labor-intensive process required a team of 12 woodworkers, who spent a total of six weeks individually hammering each skewer into the previously carved wooden structure.
The long tedious process of installing the spikes is reflected in the cabinet’s strong imposing presence, which invites the viewer to lose his or her sight in the thousands of points.
The magistral Chest has 20,000 individually inserted bamboo chopsticks on its outer shell. This protective layer mediates between the object and the user, protecting what’s inside and inviting people to take a step back.
The storage cabinet hides plenty of drawers behind its combative facade, changing its attitude and shape when opened or closed.
Sebastian’s Magistral pieces are functional sculptures, or sculptural furniture, or both. Difficult to describe, his work sits between art and design, resulting in a memorable sight.
His work “demands us to pause and reconsider familiar objects,” the Financial Times once wrote.