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Publication Date: 2018-04-05

Behind the Design

Studio Visit: Ted Boerner

In this installment of our Studio Visit series, we sit down with Ted Boerner to talk about his Reverie Sideboard and Media Unit, made of a steel frame base and inspired by warehouse windows.

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Q: What inspired you to make the Reverie Sideboard and Media Unit?

A: On my daily route to the studio I pass through an area of San Francisco that has a fair amount of warehouses. Some have been renovated; some are just aging in place. It was the metal-framed, multi-paned windows that captured my imagination. This was the seed idea for this cabinet. I was drawn to the honesty of the construction and the surprising elegance of subtle patterns across the face of the buildings.

Q: Do you see a void in the marketplace, or did you design it for a particular project and then realize it had broader appeal?

A: I am often not that strategic relative to market research. Sometimes I just get an idea that feels right and follow it until it becomes something. In this case, it was metal and glass that got me going; we hadn't used much of either material so it was compelling. I didn't know if it would resonate or become relevant, but it seems to strike a chord.

Q: What is your favorite feature or detail? What makes it so special?

A: The structure of the frame and the repeating rectangles are rather simple (in appearance, mind you!), so it's the window panes that offer the opportunity. I'm drawn to random qualities like a mix of colors in the frames. Order is good but better when paired with the element of chance. Also, I love to open the cabinet to reveal the warmth of the wood base and shelves inside.

Q: This piece really makes a statement. Ideally, how and where would you like to see it used?

A: I conceived of this piece as a server in a dining room. It is meant to house cherished objects for serving and eating and to present them in a fresh way. The top glass can be transparent wire glass in keeping with its industrial lineage, which provides a vitrine-like display to show off one's fancy bowls and platters. The back of the case is etched glass, which brightens up the piece when the door is opened. It has been used in many ways from server, store display to media case.

Q: How does this piece coordinate with other items in your collection?

A: The piece is kind of its own thing. It's meant to make a statement. I didn't really consider that it would coordinate with other items. What can I say! It's more of a departure from and a contrast to my other pieces. Though it did inspire me to bring more metal into the collection. Maybe it coordinates more now than it did originally.

Q: Are you able to offer customized versions?

A: I really love to customize this to suit a project... and we have many times. I particularly am delighted when a designer starts to explore different ways to work with it. All the frames can accept many types of glass or other materials. Mirror, antique, seedy, ribbed or spy glass all mixed together randomly work well. Photo-backed glass can create quite a unique statement. I'd love to see X-rays mounted to the back of the glass. Wouldn't that be fascinating? It would also be a terrific bar if it was oriented vertically, fitted with mirrors and filled with glasses and spirits. Cheers!

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