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Artist and designer Sebastian ErraZuriz creates what at first appears to be sleek, minimalist, Ikea-esque pieces of furniture, but there is more to them than meets the eye. In his recently published videos on Vimeo, he demonstrates that his “functional sculptures” are far more than what they originally seem. In fact, once they are transformed they hardly resemble functional furniture at all and have morphed into truly artistic pieces of work.

His “Wave Cabinet” expands and contracts in a manner reminiscent of a handheld wooden fan. Pulling one of the individual wooden slats pulls the adjoining pieces in an undulating and successive movement. ErraZuriz says of his inspiration and intent:

“I am inviting people to look at one of the simplest forms of furniture design and to forget that we’re talking about furniture, instead to see it as a way of breaking a box. I love the idea of creating beautiful furniture; nevertheless I am much more interested in using the medium as an excuse to trigger people’s curiosity and create a connection with them.”

The mechanism by which this cabinet moves and magically holds itself in various configurations is difficult to pinpoint. It appears to operate on the physics of keystone arches, where a single wooden slat in the center acts as the “keystone” upon which the compression of the slats against each other allows for the entire side to cantilever off of the main structure. Or, perhaps each individual wooden slat is inserted into the base with varying depths which catch each particular slat at a predetermined angle. Either way, there appears to be a threshold before which the slats would fall back into the normal configuration if dropped and past which it floats enchantingly without the support of human hands.

ErraZuriz’s other functional sculpture pieces include coffee tables and various types of shelving that all rely on similar dynamics. While the physics he puts into play have been well understood by architects and designers for centuries, ErraZuriz put his own special twist on his designs that yield mesmerizing results.

How do you think the Wave Cabinet holds its shape seemingly without support? I’m certainly no woodworker or physicist, so I’d love to hear your theories in the comments below.

[via Gizmodo]