Donald Deskey; wardrobes / bookcases


new Art Deco Donald Deskey painted & silver leafed Cubist bed headboard & 3 door bedroom wardrobes furniture

Some new bedrooms designs based on an original Deskey screen, supposedly sold in Paul Frankl's new shop in New York. The Skyscraper stepped shaped was to become Frankl's trademark. But the striking painted & silver leaf decoration made for a fantastically striking design - I think it Deskey's best.

While many of us may admire this original today, a screen is not something most of require in modern life. So what to do? The answer was to adapt the design for more modern uses, hence these wardrobe designs. These incoporate the original screen design into pieces of furniture we might use in modern homes, ie a bookcase, cupboard, wardrobes, etc.. There's nothing better than incorporating art into something practical. The stepped shapes lend themselves to displaying Deco pieces on top. The robes can be supplied with a black or white carcase; black is more dramatic, white is visually lighter & empahasises the front design more.

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Straight runs of robes;
new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 3 door bedroom wardrobe new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 3 door bedroom wardrobe
new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 3 door bedroom wardrobe new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 3 door bedroom wardrobe
new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 5 door bedroom wardrobe new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 6 door bedroom wardrobe

The above robe versions all show a straight run of units, top go along 1 wall. Ideally you would scale them to the room, and ideally have enough room around them to fully appreciate the striking design. Most of the robes are highly asymetric. Except for the 6 door version above, which despite the visual movement of the pattern has a subtle symetry which works well. But bedroom furniture has to be practical even when it is artistic, and a straight run of robes might not suit your room layout. So we've shown some corner versions of these as well, which work well in various door combinations. Or we can design a completely new piece if you need it, or other matching pieces to make a suite.


Corner robes;
new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 4 door bedroom corner wardrobe new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 5 door bedroom corner wardrobe
new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 6 door bedroom corner wardrobe

The only real differences between a bookcase or wardrobe is the depth of cabinet & internal layout. So these designs could be used for either. The stepped top profile of the screen was very much in the 'Skyscraper' style, so it was 1 step further to produce cabinets with this profile. You can play around with these shapes forever, & great fun it is too. As you can see you can do all kinds of variations with them to produce whatever size cabinets you want. The robe interiors can be fitted out as you want. They are made to order, we don't give out sizes until we've agreed a spec with a customer. Pieces such as these require a high level of craft skill, from the hand silver leafed finish to the accuracy of the linework, which is what makes it. Needless to say this doesn't come cheap.

Handles are a consideration - the robes were shown without them so you focuesed on the design & shapes. The doors could be on push catches which keeps the front design very clean. However, fingers & silver leaf don't go well together. Better would be small handles matched to their background colour.


new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist Geometric pattern marquetry veneered 3 door bedroom warbrobe

Instead of the painted wardrobe you might prefer this made with wood veneers? We could supply the exact same wardrobe but wood veneered, as shown below. It has the same striking design, but is subtler in wood, which many people prefer.


new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 4 door bedroom wardrobe

This is another stunning Deskey wardrobe, with strong geometric colours and patterns on the doors. The design was taken from a Deskey screen, but the shape & size translate perfectly to a bookcase or wardrobe. This is true Art furniture - it is a practical piece of furniture and a huge piece of artwork, definately the focal point of any interior it goes in. The Stepped top profile has that Skyscraper styling that just adds something special to the overall look of the piece. The interior can be fitted out as you want. The interior is usually left as a wood finish, but could be finished in one of the exterior colours.

The robe can be supplied with or without handles. Without handles, ie on push catches, gives a cleaner look without distracting from the design. However, over time pressing your hand against thin metal leaf may discolour or wear away the leaf. I would probably recommend discreet furniture handles, such as the pyramid knobs shown below. Access and shippining are always a consideration with such larger pieces of furniture. This unit would be delivered in sections for ease of access and assembly in the room. We don't give out sizes or quotations until we have agreed a specification with a customer. Mase bespoke to order.


Design variations;
new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 4 door bedroom wardrobe, without door handles on push catches new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 4 door bedroom wardrobe
new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist painted & silver leafed 2 door bedroom wardrobe Pyramid door knob pull for new Art Deco Donald Deskey wardrobe

This design is so strong, not just because of the strong colours and patterns, but because of the asymmetrical design, a typical feature of Cubist design. When we played around with the design (see above right) and made it totally symmetrical the design just looks average. We could also supply this as a 2 door wardrobe or bookcase, as shown above. Instead of the painted wardrobe you might prefer this made with wood veneers? We could supply the exact same wardrobe but wood veneered, as shown below. It has the same striking design, but is subtler in wood, which many people prefer.


new Art Deco Donald Deskey Cubist Geometric pattern veneered 4 door bedroom wardrobe

Similar shaped wardrobes;
new Art Deco Skyscraper style stepped painted Cubist 2 door wardrobe new Art Deco Skyscraper style stepped painted Cubist 4 door wardrobe
new Art Deco asymetric Skyscraper style stepped 4 door wardrobe with rising sun stained glass panels new Art Deco Skyscraper style stepped 6 door wardrobe with rising sun stained glass panels

Above are shown some wardrobes we've done, shown in the bedroom section. They are shown here purely to show how this style of stepped wardrobe can look in reality. They have a real architectural presence in a room. The Deskey designs would have the same sort of impact.


Built-in wardrobes or cupboards
new Art Deco Donald Deskey painted Cubist bedroom built-in wardrobes furniture new Art Deco Donald Deskey painted Cubist bedroom built-in wardrobes furniture
new Donald Deskey Art Deco Cubist painted built-in cupboards furniture

A little imagination can go a long way with interiors. Why not make the wardrobe built-in; if you're doing a re-model this would be quite straightforward to do. With the addition of some Deco architrave around the robes it would look crisp & perfectly integrated, so you only have to admire the design on a daily basis. Or how about using this design for a built-in cupborad, similar to built-in robes.


new Donald Deskey painted Art Deco Cubist screen furniture new Donald Deskey painted Art Deco Cubist screen furniture

Even more interesting is showing the screen in various stages of design evolvement. Having done the original line drawing for the screen, deskey would have filled in the blocks of colour to show the finished design. What is striking, having followed Deskey's working method, is that some of the less finished versions are just as striking as the original painted screen. So any of the cabinets above could equally be finished as these 2 versions.


We register our new designs as they are added to the website, and these images can not be used without our written consent. While we don't claim any exclusivity to Deskey's original designs, our furniture using these designs are our copyright.




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