Context and circumstance can elevate even the most humble materials into the foundation for inspired design. Taking cues from improvised dwellings worldwide, the Shanty Cabinet—a kinetic play of metal waves and patterns designed by Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien—showcases the spirit and creativity of those DIY homebuilders. A fitting example of the cultural mashup approach taken by the London-based studio Doshi Levein, these cabinets elevate corrugated steel beyond mere industrial functionality. They also celebrate contemporary design that’s not coming from a strictly European approach, according to Doshi.
“We’re always searching for beauty,” Doshi says, “and for us, it’s in very humble architecture and the way people work with their hands. It’s important to find beauty and ingredients you can play with from around the world. It’s amazing what you can make with simple materials.”
Designed for the playful Spanish company BD Barcelona and showing at Salone del Mobile in Milan, the Shanty cabinets come in a multicolored version, as well as a handful of monochromatic models.
“For me it’s a positive, beautiful thing to find inspiration from, what people are doing in a very humble way,” Doshi says. “There are many people who think these neighborhoods aren’t beautiful. But for the people who live there, they put a lot of care into what they built for themselves. We love the composition of the corrugated steel that’s used to make these amazing structures. They are the authors and architects of their own dwellings.”