WHAT: Luxury Cognac and Cigar Cabinet
WHO: Mark Boddington, furniture designer and maker
FOUNDER OF SILVERLINING FURNITURE
The award-winning firm that Boddington started in 1985 hascreated masterpieces coveted by the world's rich and famous,including David Bowie, Kevin Costner and Prince Jefri Bolkiahof Brunei. The handcrafted pieces, featuring innovative designs and top-quality materials, are often found inpalaces and museums, and on superyachts around the world.
Silverlining Furniture's meticulous approach to bespoke furniture is similar to the way a Swiss watchmaker works on highly complicated timepieces - the tiniest details are the results of precision, elegance and dedication. And those who appreciate the beauty of vintage Cognac will recognise the subtle magnificence of the luxury Cognac and cigar collector's cabinet envisioned by Boddington.
"The cabinet mirrors the experience of drinking the very best Cognac and smoking [the best] cigars," Boddington says. "Combined with aesthetics from the world of automotive and yacht design, this has resulted in a contemporary yet timeless cabinet for the discerning gentleman."
The piece is inspired by Cognac's painstaking distilling process. The exterior is made of oak sourced especially from the Limousin forests in central France, where only the finest Cognac distillers and agers get their timber. Limousin oak barrels are known to provide more tannins and a unique vanilla-like flavour to the liquor.
The choice of French oak not only reflects distilling traditions, but it also offers lush aesthetics. "The exterior is inspired by the traditional coopering techniques used to make oak casks in which Cognac is aged," Boddington says. Oak planks are gently fumed to achieve a gradually darkened patina, which allows the cabinet to fade into its surroundings. Caramel-tinted floating glass panels are incorporated into the design to give a warm glow that highlights the quality of the collections held within. The base is crafted with hand-planished pure copper, using car panel beating techniques, and polished to a mirrored finish. "Its shape reflects cognac production and the shape of the snifter glass used to serve [it]," Boddington says. "Its raised centre and the smooth curves of the copper reflect ambient light, creating the illusion of the cabinet floating off the floor."
In contrast to its classic exterior, the cabinet has gull wing-style doors resembling those of a supersports car. "The doors are actuated on specially designed hinges meticulously engineered to aeronautic specifications, providing a seamlessly silent soft opening and closing," Boddington says.
The interior showcases exquisite craftsmanship by Silverlining's artisans, who share more than 100 years of experience between them. The design infuses ancient Chinese cinnabar lacquer carving techniques with modern metallic accents. The cabinet ceiling, resembling a cathedral dome, features a cut-crystal pattern that illuminates the cabinet.
Smart technology is used to keep the Cognac and cigar collection in optimal conditions. All external light is blocked to keep out harmful ultraviolet rays, ensuring the cognac maintains its flavour and subtle aromas. The interior temperature and humidity is controlled by a computerised system and can be viewed and adjusted via a digital display. The system also records how long the Cognacs have been open and information on each bottle's heritage. And a digital encyclopedia can be consulted when the owner needs advice for Cognac and cigar pairings.
Cigars are kept in a series of humidor drawers fashioned in Spanish cedar, while a collection of bespoke accessories such as snifter glasses, coasters, ice buckets, decanters and a cigar cutter is included and stored within specially designed drawers. A leather-bound journal documenting the making of the cabinet is also kept in a designated drawer.
As part of the bespoke experience, the Silverlining team works closely with the client from initial consultation to delivery. "Like being fitted for a Saville Row suit, the cabinet is fitted to the client's exact preferences," Boddington says, "be it the scented odour of the materials or the colour of the integrated lighting."
Silverlining Furniture guarantees white-glove delivery to the client's location. "Items are meticulously wrapped, offering the highest protection," Boddington says. "We'll prepare a custom-reinforced, foam-lined crate to protect the cabinet, which itself is wrapped in archival pH-neutral fabric, eight-ply blankets, a foam cushioning layer and a foil moisture-barrier bag." We wouldn't be surprised if the cabinet also came with its own security guard.