From ancient Greek temples to the modern open-plans homes of Mies van der Rohe, columns are curious things. They stand right in the middle of rooms, but are taken for granted over time like walls and doors. One could easily miss that this is anything but a structural support, suspended from the ceiling but seeming to reach all the way down to the floor.
In fact, the upper (wooden) portion is a storage system – a series of doors open to reveal shelves and drawers. The lower (marble) piece is not a static base, but rather a pull-out step stool one can use to reach higher on the column or sit on to work with something lower down.
The layout of the openings and sizes of various spaces inside are somewhat beside the point. The real key to this clever design is the use of normally-architectural elements in an unusual way, while simultaneously transitioning away from the normal layout strategies for storage pieces (typically found along walls).
Each piece is custom-designed by Sophie Mensen to suit a particular interior. In this instance, the forty-five-degree angle makes it parallel and perpendicular to the zig-zag wood flooring instead of the walls, which in turn gives the ‘secret’ away somewhat.
With the right materials and orientation for a specific space, though, one could really go a long way toward hiding this in plain site.
Says Mensen, “Collecting is a condition of humanity, a fascination for a particular object or relation to an experience you cherish.”
“I have the compulsion to give these objects their own particular orientation within my personal space, a subtle yet prominent position. I have chosen to work with a shape that gets absorbed by the space; the column, a constructive element of the house.”
“A column is also a monument to impress, to remember important events that may not be forgotten. The column as a monument and the column as a constructive element are like the equivalent of my Column, but in the size and scale that fits to our interior.”