Sebastian ErraZuriz makes some of my new favorite objects in the world.
The Chilean designer, 42, creates furniture that doubles as spectacular mechanical sculptures that go far beyond the utilitarian into the realm of art. While we’ve gotten a glimpse at some of ErraZuriz’s work over the past few years, the designer is staging a full exhibition at R & Company in New York City. Called Breaking the Box, it features past and new work that’s fascinating to see in motion, even in video form:
The piece above is my favorite (and not just because it would make a great bar). At first glance, it’s a beautiful mid-century modern-inspired cabinet that shines–literally–when you open its doors. But it’s only when you close it again, and look through a peephole on the side of the cabinet, that you discover its secret: Anything you store inside multiplies into infinity. Hence its name, the Kaleidoscope Cabinet.
Then there’s Magistral Cabinet, another intriguing storage piece. Its external skin looks something like a hedgehog, covered in more than 1,000 wooden points, but it slides laterally apart to reveal a basic set of drawers.
ErraZuriz uses computer-aided design and robotic arms to create such intricate moving puzzles. But for this cabinet, he writes on his website, human labor was essential:
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 designer’s piece Fan Cabinet is the most minimal of his furniture. The simple double-panel cabinet appears to have normal doors, but when opened, each panel is revealed as a series of thin wooden slats that fan into a sculptural form.
The Grand Complication is another favorite: a credenza that opens and closes like a matryoshka doll, revealing smaller drawers in which to classify a million little objects (extreme Marie Kondo-style).
At R & Company, visitors are encouraged to engage with the pieces–ErraZuriz says that his cabinet series “embodies the daily reminder of the fragility of time and the need to also think freely and intuitively.”
That sentiment is embodied by Crush, an oversized stool that serves as a nutcracker. Yes, it’s a lot of work to crush a walnut. It also looks like a lot of fun.
You can check out Breaking the Box until March 9.