Design Classic – Influential and important design
Sardine Collector’s Cabinet
- Designer: Michael Marriot
- Material: MDF, sardine tins, wing nuts
- Manufacturer: Space UK, London England
In 1996 the Crafts Council in London put on an exhibition called “Recycling: Forms for The Next Century”. The show investigated the rising interest in an alternative design, material reuse, and the search for a design future that took environmental concerns and less aggressive use of raw materials into account, as the title suggests. Michael Marriott, a graduate of the Royal College of Art’s furniture department, whose unusual and amusing pieces piqued people’s interest, was featured in this exhibition. His cabinet was made out of medium-density fibreboard, and the drawers were made out of sardine cans. This humorous, simple, and elegant approach proposed a different design agenda, harkening back to Victor Papanek and the Whole Earth Catalogue in the 1960s.
Marriott made use of the tradition of discovered items in his work. He saw a civilisation with many unused resources and realised that he could use materials with exciting properties. Found materials, in his opinion, created not just lovely accidental effects but also generated familiarity with the piece. So far, a table made from an old oil drum, castors, and a chipboard top, as well as a wall light made from a classic glass lemon squeezer, plywood, and shelf brackets, have been created.
McDermott, C. (2011). Modern design: Classics of our time. Carlton Books.