Ikebana Cabinet “Awakening of a Dream”

Benjamin Reddan

Bungendore Wood Works Gallery is proud to exhibit the Ikebana Cabinet “Awakening of a Dream” by Benjamin Reddan an exciting and skilled young maker.

Benjamin is a passionate and thoughtful maker. He believes that well made furniture can have a soul with all aspects of making, whether it’s a corner block, hinge or piece of inlay, treated with the same respect and care.

Benjamin started the Ikebana Cabinet as an exercise to test himself and learn new skills but it became much more both as a piece and a career milestone.

“Awakening of a Dream” is a 360 degree viewing cabinet, the piece can be viewed from all angles. The cabinet is both sculptural and functional when opened it presents an Ikebana arrangement.

The Japanese design principle Kukan/Supesu ‘space is not empty’ is central to the Ikebana Cabinet. Negative space in the piece is expressed through the diamond cavity that is formed when all the doors are closed, creating a window into another world. This design element is also practical as it is the starting point to open the cabinet.

The cabinet, like origami, involves the viewer into the piece folding and unfolding sections to create different sculptural presentations. It changes back and forth from symmetrical / asymmetrical display orientations the further the cabinet opens up. Different display positions are held in place by rare earth magnets built into the doors.

There is a chamber hidden in the piece that holds a letter from the maker. The letter is entombed in the piece and will only be accessed when the piece comes to the end of its life cycle.

The timber contrast colour scheme was inspired by Japanese interiors. Over time the outside will become lighter due to exposure to light but the inside will change little.

Solid Timbers
Wenge, Hard Rock Maple, American Beech, Paduke, Jarra, Tasmanian Oak, Red Gum and Pine.

Quarter cut Wenge and Fiddle Back Maple

Birch plywood

Earth magnets, Japanese good luck coins, brass butt hinges, brass Soss hinges, lacquered pine beads, lacquered rolled paper beads from Africa and red cord.

Finished with Organ Danish Oil and Organ Wax.

Features of Interest

  • Veneer book matching
  • Router based inlay
  • Exposed draw splines
  • Complex mitring
  • Folding origami styled doors.

Making Records

Meticulous records were kept during the making process. 

It took 1737.13 hours to complete the cabinet (design and admin time not included) over a two-year period.

502 joints were used in the construction, employing 11 methods of joinery.

  • 48 Exposed spline joints
  • 79 Exposed mitre spline joints
  • 14 Dowel
  • 8 Floating tenon and mortise
  • 74 Floating spline and groove
  • 26 Butt joint
  • 168 Mitre
  • 12 Rebate
  • 10 Cabinet button/ screw attachment
  • 32 Exposed lock pin dowel joinery
  • 32 Tongue and grove

Made from a total of 2008 individual elements (including inlay pieces)

There are 862 pieces of floral inlay.

20 materials used

  • Pine solid
  • Paduke soild
  • Jarra solid
  • Wenge solid
  • Wenge Veneer
  • Fiddle back maple veneer
  • Magents
  • Brass
  • Ash solid
  • Tasmanian oak solid
  • Fijian mahogany veneer
  • Fijian Mahogany solid
  • Red gum solid
  • American Beech solid
  • Coins
  • Pine beads
  • Paper beads
  • Secret Letter

Photography: Kat Tramoy