Internationally lauded design firm Zelouf & Bell, a partnership between Irish designer and maker Michael Bell and New York designer Susan Zelouf, are renowned for their ambitious vision. So when a London client commissioned their services for a very specific cocktail cabinet, the two used their globally informed aesthetic to bring his vision to life.
The request was for a piece that combined Japanese flair with Modernism and an Arts and Crafts vibe. In particular, the client was fascinated with the torii, a traditional Japanese gate that marks an entrance to a sacred space. As such, the Torii Bar was built to resemble the geometric torii silhouette set upon an aged brass base to mimic the traditional gates’ cast bronze bamboo stretchers. A labour-intensive hand-rubbed high gloss lacquer finishes the stunning exterior.
The façade of the cabinet is crafted with a scene of sacred cranes inlaid with brilliantly coloured exotic woods, including background woods of black bolivar and red tanganyika. The underside of the bar is gilded, a reference to the rich lining of a kimono. Inside, the bar top, shelf, and concealed tray feature black shagreen, lit up with dimmable LED lights. Celadon lambskin, drawn from a colour in one of the client’s Ming vases, lines the interior drawers.
The result is a true masterpiece of fusion, transcending cultures and style periods, where timeless art meets visionary design.