Most storage furniture can only be accessed one compartment at a time and tends to keeps its contents hidden. Storage furniture is often designed to be against walls, which eliminates the use of an entire side.
Because of this, I wanted to design a storage system that was accessible from its front and rear, allowed its users to hide or display its content, had multiple configurations, and was fun to use. To accomplish these goals, I designed Sesame.
Sesame was named after the well known phrase that can open magical doors and is simple and fun to use. It features a cable and pulley mechanism that allows the two doors on each of its sides to open and close in unison, and has four potential configurations. This allows users to choose what they do and don't want to display on each sides. It also enables its users to easily access multiple compartments at once and do so with only one hand. Sesame's cable and pulley mechanism is exposed to appear friendly and inviting to those who interact with it.
I don't have access to a wood shop at the moment, so I'm still in the process of building Sesame. Here is some of the process so far:
One early concept for Sesame had its cable and pulley mechanism completely outside of its main body. In this concept, the cable and pulley mechanism obstructed the top surface and the cable could be bumped off of the pulleys. To verify that the cable and pulley mechanism would work, I made this prototype from various materials in and around our shop.
These renderings show an almost final version of Sesame's form. I moved away from the darker color palette of my earlier concept and used a lighter wood and painted doors to give Sesame a friendlier appearance. I also designed door handles that don't favor one direction over the other so users can open and close the doors equally well.
This image shows Sesame's most recent form in its multiple configurations.
I recessed the cable and pulleys into the main body to make the top surface more accessible and prevent accidental damage to the cable. The axles for the pulleys also serve as connection pieces from the outer door frame to the main body.
The doors ride in a track on Sesame's outer frame.
I designed special joinery to hide the edges of the white-oak-veneered plywood I am using to build Sesame. Each piece is made of solid white oak.
The following images show more of Sesame's construction.
I decided to remove the inner shelves to create room for larger objects. This will allow users to display items such as oversized books, televisions, and small sculptures.
This video shows Sesame's most current state and a demonstration of its pulley mechanism. My next steps are to make door handles and some other, smaller pieces of hardware.