In the late 1980s, LP records were almost wiped out by the CD, but in recent years, there has been renewed interest in vinyl, with global sales surging in 2018 for a 13th consecutive year. Thomas Lykke’s modular ‘Cabinet of Love’ for Handmade celebrates the warmer embrace of vinyl, the ritual flip from side to side, and the art form of the album cover with the creation of a ridge on the central lid that allows it to be displayed. For Lykke, the project didn’t just require stellar Danish design, a lust for old-school music rituals and a willingness to get ‘super nerdy.’ It also needed ‘the soul of the craftsman and the soul of the musician’.

Lykke founded Copenhagen-based OEO Studio with Anne-Marie Buemann in 2003. Their collaborators have ranged from small artisanal workshops in Kyoto to industry giants Dinesen, Georg Jensen and Stellar Works. They also worked closely with chef Thomas Frebel on Tokyo’s Inua restaurant, which was shortlisted for Best New Restaurant in this year’s Wallpaper* Design Awards.

Detail view of Cabinet of Love
Left, the drawers of the ‘Cabinet of Love’ feature delicate finger joints. Right, the vinyl brush, displayed in a padded leather drawer, both by Dahlman1807. Photography: Nikolaj Didriksen

‘I wanted to work with nerds, people who really pay attention to what they’re doing,’ says Lykke, who put OEO Studio’s concept into the capable hands of bespoke wooden furniture manufacturer Garde Hvalsøe. Their previous partnerships include the kitchen at Copenhagen’s Kadeau restaurant and another in the home of Noma founder René Redzepi, but this time they were looking to work on a smaller scale. ‘We believe in taking the time to dive into things and do them well. It just felt like the right project,’ says Søren Lundh Aagaard, partner at Garde Hvalsøe.

The resulting audio station is a pared-back marriage of materials. A perfect slab of silky raw oak was cut using a combination of CNC machinery and good old handicraft. Each piece was polished and smoked for a rich lustre and, once assembled, polished again and oiled by hand. The body of the cabinet sits on a burnished brass plinth, topped with a speckled slab of pietra di fossena stone with a number of intricate details in between: anodised hinges, artfully hidden wires and strips of brass to separate each of the cabinet’s three modules. Below, spacious drawers cater for the most extensive of record collections. ‘Every joint and detail has been cared for,’ says Aagaard. ‘You can feel how it has been polished and how the drawers close perfectly. It is a good feeling.’

Detail views of ‘Cabinet of Love’
Left, a submarine-inspired amplifier, by Gato Audio was given a custom finish for the project. Right, burnished brass and leather detailing on the lid of the ‘Cabinet of Love’. Photography: Nikolaj Didriksen

Meanwhile, Bergmann Audio developed a custom finish for its signature turntable, which boasts a linear tracking air-bearing tonearm to play music ‘as the composers meant it to be’. Sporting a less-is-more aesthetic, the turntable combines traditional Danish design with a sharp Bauhaus edge. The cabinet’s compact amplifier, by Copenhagen-based Gato Audio, is inspired by submarines, namely the ‘air intake along the sides, the wooden deck on the top and old school dials at the front,’ says managing director Frederik Johansen. ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,’ he says. ‘That is what the cabinet is all about.’

As a final flourish, in came the 200-year-old Danish leather brand Dahlman 1807. Co-owner Jeppe Dencker has had his sights on Wallpaper* Handmade for a while. ‘We were excited from the get-go,’ he says. ‘Handmade showcases craftsmanship in a very modern context and this is exactly what we try to do.’ In addition to the leather detailing, Dahlman 1807 also created a vinyl bag (adapted from the brand’s architect’s bag, designed by Danish architect Erik Herløw in 1942), alongside a vinyl brush made in collaboration with Blindes Arbejde, a workshop where visually-impaired artisans create household goods by hand.

‘I wanted to work with nerds, people who really pay attention to what they’re doing’ –  Thomas Lykke

The ‘Cabinet of Love’ is what happens when the best ‘nerds’ in the business are brought together by a mutual passion for analogue technology and exceptional design. As for where it will go next, Aagaard has an idea: ‘I expect the cabinet will find a home full of great vinyls and lots of love.’ §

As originally featured in the August 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*245)