Matharoo Associates’ Curtain Door
I’ve been looking at the image of Matharoo Associates’ Curtain Door long enough to make my eyes glaze over. That’s not only because it’s an objectively beautiful object with a bizarre and captivating aesthetic, but also because—for the life of me—I can’t fathom how it works. What I do know is that the door’s ten-inch thick rectangular sections of teak wood are stacked one on top of the other to form a 17 foot-high ingress that’s about 5.5 feet across; that it operates via “160 pulleys, 80 ball bearings, a wire-rope, and a counter weight hidden within the single pivot.”
Curtain Door. Designed by Matharoo Associates.
This assemblage of mechanics allows it to flex into an elegant, three-dimensional, curved plane at the merest finger’s touch. But that description likely doesn’t do justice to the ingenious contraption as seen in full and living color. Given that there appears to be no extant video to accompany Matharoo Associates’ PR material (any minute now, You Tube), in order to see it operate you’d have to travel to the photographed residence in Surat, India and beg entry of the un-named diamond merchant who commissioned the piece. My guess is he’s not the type to grant such an indulgence (especially given the controversial nature of the primary material—the over-harvested and much endangered Burmese Teak).
The upshot is that—half a world away—we’ll all have to use our bountiful imaginations to picture the piece in action, to see and hear how—in the center of our mind’s eye—the door belies its own geometrical nature, twisting around some invisible axis of curvature to invite entry.