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Hidden in Plain View

A digitally fabricated design in London boasts secret compartments for coralling the trappings of a modern workspace.

modern CNC-milled desk in London home
A digitally fabricated design in London boasts secret compartments for coralling the trappings of a modern workspace.—Diana Budds

When fantasizing about the ultimate home office, the owner of this project imagined something sleek and sculptural that would conceal all the cords and contraptions that clutter most desks. To bring this vision to life, architect Alvin Huang and his team at Synthesis Design and Architecture hung sheets of CNC-milled birch—fabricated by local firm Cutting Edge—from the wall to form a continuous three-dimensional form. Look closely and you’ll glimpse the five hidden cabinets concealed within its sinewy surface that obscure files, books, a phone, and a paper shredder. In keeping with the theme of optical illusion, Synthesis inset a series of horizontal wooden spacers to form, from a distance, an abstraction of a world map—a way to hold the boards in place and nod to the resident’s love of world travel.

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