4-Seiten-Turm – 4-sided tower

Appreciation of the winner
by Peter Nickl – Chamber of Crafts for Munich and Upper Bavaria

The 1992 Bavarian State Prize for Young Designers in the applied crafts category has been awarded to Mathias Winkler for the tower of drawers he designed and built. Winkler is a trained locksmith and studied at the Akademie für gestaltende Handwerke in Aachen. He currently is preparing for his master examination as a metal worker. Hence, the State Prize has been presented to a piece of furniture built by a locksmith rather than to a carpenter’s piece, which required adherence to other criteria for evaluation. In addition to the piece’s form and practical execution, the jury based its decision on the originality of the technical development of this tower of drawers. The four drawers are located one above the other and each of them can be opened on all four sides. We all know drawers that open to the front and/or the back; what is unusual about this model is that every drawer can be accessed “at a right angle.” However, the actual surprise is that three of the four side covers can be released from the drawer base using the brass handles and that they join the base again when pushed back into the starting position. The technical cunning of this system is reminiscent of the clever secret compartments in baroque writing cabinets or magician’s kits. The members of the jury selected this work because they wanted to foster the inventive, playful spirit of young professionals such as Winkler, especially if such spirit originates at the workbench and from practical experience rather than at the drawing board.

What convinced the jury was the development of the technical principle which is easy to imagine being used in the construction of stores or bars, and in the interior design of open-plan offices. It is legitimate for young people – and it proves their commitment to their professions – to select and try to master unusual technical assignments. Since the times of Hephaistos, inventions such as this one have been part of the profession of a locksmith or smith.

Technical data
Materials: steel, beech wood, birch wood, multiplex

Mathias Winkler

The work was suggested by the Bayerischer Handwerkstag