September 1st, 2010
Mid-Century Madness is a computer enclosure inspired by the television show Mad Men. I was motivated by a challenge from a design blog to build something in the mid-century modern style and this is my response. The idea was to create a caricature of early-Sixties furniture fashion and somehow have it fit into an alternative universe where desktop computers were used in a 1960's Mad Men office. Could this have been Don Draper's PC?
The enclosure is made from a combination of red oak plywood and birch plywood with a red oak veneer. The legs are solid red oak. The plywood panels were hand sawn and the taper in the legs are hand carved. The color is natural red oak that is finished with Danish Oil and semi-gloss brushing lacquer.
For me, mid-century modern means long, thin legs and floating tabletops. These are meant to give an airy appearance to the design. It also means stark minimalism with vast expanses of wood with no fasteners showing.
The actual computer case is a slightly modified Silverstone TJ08 micro ATX tower. The case is easily removed by pulling it out from the back of the enclosure. The Silverstone case has vent ducts cut into the top and bottom to align with the external enclosure's vent openings.
Specific inspiration for Mid Century Madness came from this mid-Sixties teak Danish-designed desk that I spotted for sale on ebay. I have spotted several more since then so I'm thinking that it must have been a popular item.
This is the specific photo I was working from. A great feature of this desk is that it has a built-in bar cabinet that faces out into the office. I thought this tied in nicely to the whole Mad Men thing
I grew up surrounded by this type of furniture and my favorite piece was a Curtis-Mathes stereo console that my parents purchased in 1962. For me, mid-century modern conjures up memories of woven cane speaker cloth framed in wood. It also conjures up images of geometric-paneled room dividers. I combined the two ideas into this grille design. The grille is made from 92 pieces of wood glued together into three layers and painted with a color that is suppose to simulate nicotine-stained ivory.
This is a construction photo showing the placement of twin 140mm fans at the bottom of the enclosure. At the top of the enclosure is an exhaust vent made from solid red oak.
Toss in a little bourbon and my first edition Ian Fleming Thunderball. Thanks for looking.
Back to Main Gallery
Speciial thanks to my friends at the following companies for their continued support.