Robb Design Portfolio: Out of Sight
This shapely 6-foot-9-inch armoire—commissioned from Dutch designer Tord Boontje by Meta, an offshoot of the Mallett gallery (212.249.8664, +44.20.7495.5375, www.madebymeta.com)—combines 21st-century computer-engineering technology with 18th-century French cabinetmaking skills. The piece comprises a mahogany frame, a cocobolo wood veneer, and drawers of solid padauk wood. But the most intriguing detail is one you cannot see: a unique secret compartment. "We only show it to the clients when they purchase [the armoire]," says Eleonore Halluitte, Meta’s production manager. "[The compartment] changes every time they make it, so no one who also has one can say, ‘I know where you hide your jewelry.’"
Meta introduced the $271,000 armoire in 2008—but it may not be available for much longer. One of the two lead cabinetmakers who build the corsetlike furnishings recently retired. How long his colleague will continue executing the complex design remains to be seen.