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Intelligent Design

Introducing origami cabinetry—a now-you-see-the-laptop-now-you-don’t approach to the home office.

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All three units hold books, but one shelf includes a fold-down desk made of figured maple.   

Some find solace in media, others in the absence thereof. But for the owner of this Upper West Side study, balance was achieved by wrapping computer, stereo, and television in an envelope of rice paper—pairing moving screens with his collection of antique Japanese scrolls. “It’s where he does his e-mails and his writing away from his family,” says the designer Johannes Knoops, adding that the rest of the apartment is classic prewar. “It developed into this idea of origami, because that would be sympathetic to the scrolls. It is in the Japanese tradition of the scholar’s study.” Knoops designed three built-in pieces for the 275-square-foot room and had Hisao Hanafusa of Miya Shoji make them out of traditional rice paper and linden wood, air-dried for at least ten years to prevent warping. “There’s a folding game going on,” Knoops says. “When you open a door, the angle of the door aligns with the next panel.” A small sofa and table (not pictured) are normally the room’s only furniture. “It’s meant to be a quiet space,” he adds. “It is all paper.”


The ceiling was divided into four dropped sections around a central basket-weave lamp, also designed by Johannes Knoops.  

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