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Kilt Cabinet and Carpet to Match!

When I was about eight years old my parents decided to remodel our basement. Since the formerly unfinished space had once been the locus for our yearly haunted house, my brothers and I felt entitled to perpetrate an undeserved horror on the sunny new wallpaper: in an effort to reproduce the neat joints between sheets (so the story goes), we executed a series of not-so-neat “reproductions” with the razor blades the paper-hangers had left behind.

Kilt Cabinet. Designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Asplund.

This little anecdote may seem way off the mark in a design blog (neither did the act impress my parents), but it’s the first image evoked by Asplund’s Kilt Cabinet by Claesson Koivisto Rune. This strange, intriguing, and impressive piece sports more lines than Tony Montana’s coffee table, greater grids than Nixon’s polygraph. But the difference between Kilt’s slightly off-kilter joints and my boyhood wall-covering “alterations” is that the former are artfully executed within lacquered MDF or handsome walnut veneer.

Very unlike my early handiwork, the effect produced by Kilt is one of misdirection—the very intention of the trio of Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto and Ola Rune, who put their behatted heads together (from the inauspicious environs, legend has it, of “a small office a few steps off the street in a lower level former sausage factory in the middle of Stockholm”) to engage the idea of illusion. For Kilt’s manifold inscriptions imply one hundred drawers but reveal none, leaving it to the user to probe frustrated fingers between the lines in an attempt to find a working niche.

Kilt Carpet. Designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune.

Asplund explains the concept thusly: “the final part in their storage trilogy, Kilt plays with the illusion of horizontal lines and drawers… a modern version of a grandma’s cabinet with hidden drawers and compartments.” Furthermore, the manufacturer says, “Kilt” refers to the Tartan pattern created by the intersection of horizontal and vertical. But I prefer to think of the name as one more reference to the metaphor of illusion and concealment. As everybody knows, the best thing about the famed Scottish accoutrement is its power of suggestion: once the ugly truth is revealed, the garment looses all sense of mystery. Kilt’s mysteries will doubtless prove more difficult to discern—its tantalizing contours will keep users guessing far into the night, the truths of its vaunted hollows revealed to but a select few.

Posted March 12th, 2010 by Joseph Starr

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