Design Portfolio: Branching Out

A feeling for nature is at the root of this expansive design.

A visit to an antiques shop outside Bangkok led Stephen Termviriyakul to a faded Japa­nese painting depicting a cherry blossom festival, and at the painting’s center was a tree with wide-reaching branches. That mesmerizing form planted the seed of inspiration for the Bonsai cabinet ($16,850). Termviriyakul’s design, which is limited to just 26 examples, is nearly 6 feet long and shares attributes with other furniture from his Bangkok-based company, Muse Design (muse-th​.com). “Most of Muse’s designs show the shape, color, and texture of natural things,” he says. “We always try to bring nature into the client’s life. Human beings, especially in today’s busy world, love getting closer to nature.”

Close inspection of the burnt-oak cabinet reveals the handiwork in the exterior’s leaves and blossoms and in the interior’s gnarled branches, some of which are shelves. A wax sculpture of the tree precedes a plaster mold that ultimately is cast in bronze. Inside, the cabinet glows with a paint made from powdered gold—a sheen that recalls the gilding on Buddha statues and Thai temples. “When you open the cabinet,” Termviriyakul says, “you can feel a dramatic, warm gold color come out.” 

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