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.

Title Media Cube

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 houses a collection of my most precious media objects and devices.

Media Cube Media Cube

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).

Objects

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

How it Works Axonometric Media Cube Media Cube

Setup Video

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 Cube, Ernő Rubik
Shrine, Sigurd Larsen RG02, Rui Grazina Cube, Ernő Rubik
Disko Alder Juxtaposed Religion
Disko Alder, Kevin Krumnikl Juxtaposed Religion, Mike and Maaike

Build Photos

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

Extra

  • My Instagram post after the final studio review (June 5, 2013):

A post shared by Andrew Westling (@expandrew) on

  • My Instagram post from installing and setting up the cube when I moved into my first studio apartment in Portland (January 14, 2015):

A post shared by Andrew Westling (@expandrew) on