Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 15) – Accessories

On the custom office project for JLT I ended up becoming involved in many aspects of the interior design, from the creation of the furniture itself to the layout of the ceiling and lighting grid and, to a lesser degree, the selection of wall coverings, carpet and upholstered furniture from Herman Miller.

Admittedly, this participation on my part was motivated in part by my desire to create a thoroughly complete office environment that would help show off the actual furniture when it came time for photography.

My intense focus on the design of the furniture inadvertently spilled over into the creation of some accessories as well, specifically a wine stopper and an ice bucket for the scotch bar.

Given that JLT is an aficionado of fine wines I wanted to create a high quality stopper that would surpass the quality level of any other wine stopper currently on the market.

The stopper itself was milled from a solid billet of FDA food grade 304 stainless steel. Triple seals of FDA food grade nitrile were then inlaid into precision milled grooves. The handle portion was turned from a rare block of solid Macassar Ebony, which is one of the hardest woods in the world.

Sharp tools and considerable patience is required when working with woods such as Ebony. Because of its extreme density this wood must be slowly air dried, lest hairline cracks develop over time.

On this particular stopper the biggest challenge came from placing the inlay of a decorative cabachon into the end. A thin walled pocket was carefully turned with a parting tool to create the recess necessary to receive the inlay of fossilized coral.

The ice bucket ended up being the bigger undertaking, and I have to admit that I spent a great deal of time agonizing over the design.

In an earlier post I described the process of evaluating JLT’s office from a Feng Shui perspective. At the time it worked out that the proposed layout and design was conducive with 13 of the 14 recommended “DO’s” and “DON’T’s” for a balanced office from a Feng Shui perspective. The only element missing was a small aquarium containing a single Arowana fish.

As much as I aspired to achieve perfection with this project I wasn’t about to suggest something as contrived as plunking an aquarium in the middle of the office decor. But given that the Scotch Bar was already located in a most auspicious part of the office, and knowing that JLT also has a taste for single malt scotch and Grey Goose vodka, I came up with the idea of creating a functional ice bucket that could do double duty as a proverbial water feature. Instead of using a live fish I would substitute an image of an Arowana etched into the face of the glass.

Working with Eva Milinkovic of Tsunami Glassworks we selected a colour of blue that would not only become a symbolic representation of water but do so in a way that would also complement the colours found on a Grey Goose bottle.

The most difficult part was coming up with an image of an Arowana fish that was subtle enough not to be overpowering. I didn’t want this thing to look like it had Charlie the Tuna tattooed onto the side.

Once the concept was finalized I left it to Eva to work her magic with the glass.

It’s no surprise that I was quite pleased with the result.

Next: Custom Furniture for an Executive Office – Case Study (Part 16) – Final Photography

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