Monday, March 23, 2009

the esu for you

Recently a friend of mine and fellow enthused with things mcm, suggested to AJ that we try to make an ESU- Eames Storage Unit. Now while I don't think that it would be the perfect thing to solve my personal storage dilemma (I'll explain in a bit), I think the sheer simplicity in design and ease to craft make this project perfect for myself and other poor mediocre retro crafters with only hand tools.

The Good:

Excellent about the ESU are several key things... First and foremost its ease to craft. The exposed structure and simple, boxy lines make it easier than Ikea, and really lend themselves to what feels like early sixties classy, artsy office decor. Google would have used them if it had offices in the sixties, it might even sport them currently. Also, as much as I hate to say that the brand name adds to the value of the product, the very fact that "Eames" is attached to the design makes it that much snazzier - this is something that has been created for and accepted by the worlds of mid-century modernism and industrial design. It might go without saying that the benefits of modular furniture are apparent - theoretically, the storage unit could be built (or ordered in sections) to your liking, made to occupy any space anywhere and serve virtually any storage function, including, but not limited to, open cubbies, sliding doors, drawers, and full shelves.

The Bad:

Authentic (not necessarily vintage, but licensed) Eames Storage Units cost from $450 to $3000, which given the simplicity of design, seems completely outrageous to me. The products from that specific store,, aren't even original - they did not come from the sixties, they are manufactured currently. This price is off the wall! The average vintage Paul McCobb desk (pictured and described in an earlier post), my most desired piece of furniture from the last three months, in good shape costs about $500. The Eames Desk from the ESU, new and not original, costs $1622! I don't get it! Anyways, enough about the cost... regarding the design - as I said earlier, The ESU would go perfectly in a mid-century or even current simple, classy, well-designed office setting, but my two rooms in the house I rent aren't really the places for it; given the opportunity to snag a second-hand McCobb bureau for the same price, I'd probably pass up the ESU any day.

Despite these apprehensions towards this thing, I think the good outweighs the bad, and the Eames Storage Unit is beckoning. With Doddie, the gentleman who suggested we consider this project, and myself, I wonder how much effort it would actually take to put together something that looks like the real thing...

So far, the project list seems like it'll include:

- steel corner stock
- wood cut for various functions
- relatively thick wire
- nuts and bolts
- drawer sliders
- paint in cool colors

It should be noted that everything on the list is easily available at any of our nearest hardware stores.

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