Beston Barnett Design

fine custom furniture and woodworking


Solomon’s Cabinets: Wadi Alnaml

44″w, 19″h, 17″d, walnut, ebonized walnut, silver wax

“Wadi Alnaml” is part of a series of cabinets which use the abstract vocabulary of Islamic geometry to illustrate legends of the biblical King Solomon. Translated from Arabic as “Valley of the Ants,” the title refers to the 27th chapter of the Quran, within which Solomon (who can understand the languages of all creatures) overhears an ant queen warning her subjects that the armies of the great king are coming and will crush them. Solomon is amused and either diverts his army to travel only on one side of the valley or, in another version, crosses the valley on a flying carpet . Here, I’ve used a circular Kufic script to write out the words “Wadi Alnaml” three times, and suggested the burrowing of the ants with organic lines which a pattern of five- and ten-pointed stars shine between. With two doors and an open display space at the center, the cabinet can be mounted on a stand or hung on a wall with a French clete (as pictured).


Solomon’s Cabinets: Al Tabut

44″w, 31″h, 17″ d, walnut, wenge, holly

“Al Tabut” (“the ark” in Arabic) is part of a series of cabinets which use the abstract vocabulary of Islamic geometry to illustrate legends of the biblical King Solomon. Among his many accomplishments, Solomon is said to have built the first temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. Here I’ve used a dense dark latticed border around a simpler rectangle of holly to suggest something heavy and ornate guarding something simple and precious. The two ornamented sliding doors conceal a single drawer. Like the other pieces in the series, the cabinet can be mounted on a stand (as pictured) or hung on a wall with a French clete.

* geometry note: This 8-pointed star pattern, fairly common in Mamluk latticework, is complicated here by making parts of the pattern curved, other parts straight, and allowing them to interact.


Al Uqueaa

12″x26″x2″ walnut, wenge, and mirror

This wall-hung piece plays with overlapping latticeworks based on Mamluk design from 13th century Egypt and animal forms. ‘Al Uqueaa’ is the Arabic transliteration of ‘the snake’.

 


Mamluk Book Stand

24″x16″x11″ walnut and wenge

A book stand ornamented with overlapping lattices inspired by the Arabic geometries of the 13th century Mamluk Dynasty.


Landworth Tables

diameters: 14-22″, heights: 15-19″, walnut and wenge

The client had this interesting idea for little coffee tables that could be huddled together or moved around the room, even sat on. The result is these seven tripod tables incorporating a single leg that comes through the top and a wenge butterfly key.


Landworth Sideboard

60″x20″x36″ walnut and wenge

An expanded reworking of an earlier design, this sideboard has three drawers with intricate latticework, two sliding doors, and a floating bookmatched top.


Dining Benches

38″x13″x19″ mahogany and vinyl leather

These mahogany benches – with floating cushions, sculpted curves, and playful latticework – seat two comfortably for dinner.


Reader Lounge

70″x29″x39″ mahogany and vinyl leather

A large chaise lounge with an exposed mahogany frame and upholstery by my friend Molly Whittaker.


Bronner Sideboard

60″x20″x36″ walnut and wenge

With three small drawers and two sliding doors, this sideboard combines a Chinese silhouette with contemporary lines, exposed joinery, and rich contrasting wood grains.

 


Walnut Vanity

40″x33″x18″, walnut, porcelain sink, and Fortis faucets

Two drawers and two doors, all with soft-closing hardware, quilted solid walnut, and a modern Japanese aesthetic make this vanity both practical and beautiful.


Arab Spring #2

13″x14″x21″  cherry, bleached alder, cocobolo, latex paint, and white wax

The “Arab Spring” series incorporates Egyptian geometries and grafitti-inspired calligraphy, allowing me to experiment with more relief work on the CNC router. I was so happy with my original three-drawer piece  that I decided to make another with a few changes: cherry wood and bleach to lighten the overall effect and a bottom shelf for magazines.


Arab Spring

21″x14″x13″, walnut, tamo ash, dye, graphite

This piece was a commission in which the client let me run wild. Playing with the Egyptian geometries I’ve been interested in, and adding some grafitti-inspired calligraphy allowed me to experiment with more relief work on the CNC router. The idea for a floating black cube was very much inspired by the Kaaba in Mecca.


Monkey Tail Desk

45″x22″x59″, walnut ply

This fun, compact desk – with its book cubbies, pencil slot, hinged top, and built-in “monkey tail” lamp – was cut out, joints and all,  from one and a half sheets of walnut ply on a CNC router.


Brantuas’ Sideboard and Cabinet

table: 57″x20″x41″, cabinet: 46″x17″x16″, walnut and ebonized walnut

Square Kufic – an ancient form of Arabic calligraphy – ornaments a sideboard table and matching wall cabinet of solid walnut.


Kufic Boxes #1 and #2

9″x9″x4″, walnut and upholstery

The maze-like carvings on these jewelry boxes are an ancient form of Arabic calligraphy: they repeat the word for “jewelry” 14 times.


Dovetailed Shoe Bench

38″x14″x21″  walnut

A bench, two shelves for shoes, and drawer for whatever’s in your pocket when you come in the door.  All from scrap walnut lying around the shop.


Admiral’s Desk

60″x31″x29″, mahogany, alder, and cocobolo

A peerless slab of crotch mahogany is complimented with exposed joinery, tapered legs, and two small drawers.


Mamluk Box

20″14″x9″, walnut, wenge, tamo ash, and upholstery

This large two-tiered jewelry box displays latticework based on that found in a Mamluk mosque in Cairo dating from the 13th century.


Ingo’s Bench

44″x44″x17″, cherry ply

L-shaped seating and storage for a small kitchen nook.


Zebra Box

9″x6″x5″, claro walnut, bird’s-eye maple, wenge, zebrawood, and willow

With its inner tray and quirky use of willow twigs, this jewelry box made the perfect wedding gift for a friend.