Media Cube

I designed and built this piece in Spring 2013 for a furniture studio entitled "What is a cabinet?" while I completed my architecture degree.

The content below is derived from what I presented at my final review.

Table of Contents

Overview

Media Cube is a cabinet I designed and built in Spring 2013 for a furniture studio entitled "What is a cabinet?" while I completed my architecture degree at University of Oregon.

The finished piece is a 22" plywood cube that rotates and contains a collection of my most precious media objects and devices.

I sought to answer the following questions:

  • In a time where nearly any content can be streamed on-demand, what do you do with the media you own and keep for yourself?
  • How can traditional media and "new media" exist in the same context?
  • How can a cabinet be both "container" and "composition?"

I designed it around a number of "media objects" and devices I owned at the time. Among them:

  • a 2006 Mac mini (which I used as a media server, hooked up to speakers and a TV)
  • a 2013 Mac mini (I planned to upgrade and designed it with these dimensions in mind)
  • a Griffin Powermate USB control knob (for controlling the Mac mini without a keyboard/mouse)
  • a WD external hard drive (for storing media before we had Spotify)
  • a curated collection of CDs/DVDs/vinyl records

Later, I also installed a cable modem inside of the cabinet, as well as my AirPort Time Capsule wireless router (in place of the WD external hard drive).

I also wanted the cabinet to hide the devices' cords, so the cabinet has a built-in surge protector and all the connections are inside the box. Cords are fed in through a channel in the lazy susan's mounting plate and into a 2" hole in the bottom (you can see this very briefly in the beginning of the setup video below).

Everything is accessible through a removable drawer that reveals a hidden compartment and internal spaces for hiding things.

Rotating the cube indefinitely would put a lot of strain on the cords, so I built a crude "stopper" into the swivel plate assembly to prevent it from rotating more than one full rotation.

Technical Specifications

Dimensions 22" (W), 22" (L), 24.5" (H)

Rotation ~330° range of motion, on ball bearing swivel plate (limited to prevent strain on cords)

Weight Heavy enough to be annoying

Materials Baltic Birch plywood (1/2" and 3/4" thickness)

Construction Technique Dado and rabbet groove joints

Primary Tools Table saw with single blade, table saw with stacked dado set, drill press, orbital sander

Finish Wipe-on polyurethane

Inspiration

I found inspiration from a number of existing media/stereo furniture items, as well as "puzzle boxes" and other wooden devices with complex openings and connections.

Shrine, Sigurd Larsen
RG02, Rui Grazina
Cube, Ernő Rubik

Build Photos

The build-out took place in the Millrace Woodshop at University of Oregon.

Extra

Originally posted: 2013-06-13

Last updated: 2021-02-21