The origin of pieces: the shaping of objects through experience and adaptation, drawing on things before us and, sometimes, things way before us. A case of endings and beginnings.

‘Sum’ cabinet is the emergent aggregation of a number of shadow-forming details from three structures created in three quite different periods. The first reference is that of the coffered ceiling of the Pantheon in Rome, completed by emperor Hadrian and dedicated around the year 126 AD. The second is Carlo Scarpa’s Tomba Brion, deemed as completed in 1978 following the untimely death of the architect. The third reference is a rendition of the interior columns of Durham Cathedral, started in the year 1093 and, following a personal visit, perhaps the anchoring catalyst that would give form to a number of my untethered ideas. I have included a photograph by Francis Frith — courtesy of the V&A archive — taken around the same time as the publication of Charles Darwin’s treatise, the title of which I have suitably evolved to exploit an opportunity. Images of the other references are available elsewhere.

While never knowingly overthought, I do enjoy making things add up in my work — numerically at least — and a trail of common measurements is regularly incorporated into each piece. Additionally, and with regard to the previous dates mentioned, the inclusion of a forth reference point in time, 2019 as the year I started my cabinet, throws up a satisfying number-quirk. Simply, the median point between 126 AD and 1978 is the year 1052. Shift that date by 41 — the number of years from 1978 to 2019 — and the year becomes 1093. Pure chance, of course.

Curious mathematics aside, the outcome is no more and no less a wooden container of best intentions; of ideas respectfully derived from grander sources, and consciously nondescript in name but named nonetheless — modest but not that modest. Its present value, which may change over time, equates to that of its joined parts, not greater and not less than. An object in its own right; a cabinet, some cabinet.

Copyright © 2021 Ian Cresswell