Rotunda Serotina at Wallpaper* Handmade Exhibition

Today is the start of the Wallpaper* Handmade Exhibition in Milan and our towering structure of food plates, the Rotunda Serotina, will be unveiled.

Commissioned by Wallpaper* Magazine, we joined forces with Danish/Swedish  architects Kolman Boye and the American Hardwood Export Council. The brief was to design a candy-store concept for doling out free savoury biscuits from local bistro T’a Milano.  It’s  huge  at over 3.7m in diameter and the same in height, more a structure, than a piece of furniture.  As architect Victor Boye Julebäk said  “Something really strong was needed for the huge venue… but maybe we went a little over the top!”

Made from American black cherry wood also known as Prunus Serotina, the vast columns of shelves are arranged in a cylindrical shape so that a single ladder can slide around inside the structure to scale every shelf. Each shelf in the Rotunda holds rows of cherry-wood snack trays that visitors can take home as limited-edition samples from the exhibit.

The architects share our respect for traditional japanese joinery. We  used square peg joints, cutting hundreds of square holes, – certainly not easy, but a strong component of Japanese joinery. In total we made 3,084 separate pieces connected by 1,008 joints to make up the outer layer of the Rotunda together with 528 trays for the surface layer, all assembled without the use of nails, screws or glue.  

Kolman Boye liken the structure to a set of “bones” and the serving trays as “skin”. “We liked the idea of giving away the skin so only the bone remains. It’s very beautiful, almost choreographical, the way pieces of the cherry are taken away by the public so you can see the structure slowly disintegrate. Like those huge gas holders that slowly empty.”

Cherry wood is a vastly under utilised timber that has slipped out of fashion in recent years. For this project we’ve kept it looking as natural as possible, Visitors will be surprised by its porous appearance – a raw and rugged contemporary look rather than the traditional reddish, highly lacquered appearance that is usually expected.

For this project we’ve continued our ground breaking work with Life Cycle Assessment for furniture and have calculated the cradle to grave impact of creating, transporting and installing the entire structure for six impact categories, including global warming potential (GWP), or carbon footprint.

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Rotunda Serotina at Wallpaper* Handmade: The Arcade via San Gregorio 43 Milan

14 April 2015, 12pm – 4pm

15 – 18 April 2015, 10am – 7pm



Posted on: 14th April, 2015 By: Benchmark Category: Events & Exhibitions| Projects| Rotunda Serotina