Technology and Style

The Riddled Cabinet

As the designer of some of the world's most celebrated and innovative buildings, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Sliced Porosity Block in Chengdu, China and Simmons Hall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Steven Holl is an architect of uncompromising vision. New York Times architecture critic, Paul Goldberger, labels Holl’s buildings "intellectually provocative". Holl brings the same cerebral approach to his furniture designs.

The Riddled Cabinet features five perforated, faceted walnut cubes which define five distinct spatialities. Computer-controlled drills create five unique patterns of perforation, allowing light to play through the long, low rectangular form. Despite its size and materials, the Riddled Cabinet gives a sense of lightness and movement as light permeates through the porous surface. A functional storage unit becomes a sculpture of shifting light and shadow, echoing the architecture of Holl's Sliced Porosity Block and Simmons Hills. The Riddled Cabinet represents the ultimate 21st century amalgamation of technology and style, impossible to achieve only a decade earlier.

Designed for the furniture manufacturer, Horm Srl, this Riddled Cabinet made in walnut features the markings of trial fabrication, such as grooves and visible screws in aluminum. Exemplary of the thoughtfulness apparent throughout Holl’s oeuvre, the prototype Riddled Cabinet is an important model of contemporary American design.

New, digitally driven techniques have provided a previously unattainable degree of porosity of membranes, surfaces and solids, opening up possibilities.

—Steven Holl