Saturday, May 18, 2013

The desk to end all desks; the Roentgen's Berlin Secretary Cabinet

I covet this desk even though it's larger than my living room and totally impractical. But what a fantastic, inventive work of art.



One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important product from Abraham (1711–1793) and David Roentgen's (1743–1807) workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. Owned by King Frederick William II, the Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size.

This cabinet, from Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).

Footage courtesy of VideoART GmbH and Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

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