Furniture designer makes 'divorce cabinet'

FURNITURE designer Alexandra Tinning has tackled one of the ‘saw’ points in many divorces – how to split the goods.

Alexandra Tinning

FURNITURE designer Alexandra Tinning has tackled one of the ‘saw’ points in many divorces – how to split the goods. Alexandra, a Northumbria University student in 3D design, decided that when relationships break up, the furniture should too.

So for her final year show at the university’s School of Design, she has come up with a “divorce cabinet” which can be sawed in two when couples go their separate ways.

Alexandra, who has a passion for 1950s furniture, came up with idea came after studying the social changes which make life today so different from the post-war decade.

She said: “There are issues like today’s throwaway society compared to the 1950s, but a massive difference is the easier divorce now and higher break-up rates. It affects a lot of people’s lives. For thousands of years, men and women’s roles were clearly defined.

“However, with the freedom of change has come the uncertainty of what to expect from each other.

“The divorce cabinet is the result of designing for today’s culture.”

Alexandra, who lives in Colywell Bay Road in Seaton Sluice, Northumberland, was also prompted by the high profile marriage breakdown of Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, and the courtroom battle over the settlement.

Her 1950s-style cabinet comes complete with its own saw and features pre-drilled cut lines across the top to mark where it can be sawn in half.

The cabinet also features pull-down legs so that each half of the cabinet can become a functional piece of furniture when the couple separate.

The idea could apply to other furniture and can also reflect the complexity of dividing property.

Alexandra said: “Some people have said to me that the cabinet could also be made so that it divides into one bigger and one smaller section.”

Another of Alexandra’s creations is a music piece based on a small version of a 1950s stereogramme, but equipped with modern Bluetooth and MP3 technology. She also has ideas for other designs such as a male vanity mirror, reflecting the changes in how men see themselves now compared to the 1950s.

:: The Reveal 2008 free public exhibition of work from students across the design genre runs until June 27 at the School of Design on Northumbria University’s new City Campus East in Newcastle, 10am-4pm.

Hang on...

IT’S a scene played out daily in many a home – the telephone rings and there is no pen and paper to hand.

Now Northumbria University final year 3D design student Danielle Quinn has come up with the idea of a table which includes a chalkless board and a double ended magnetic pen to match the design of the oak table.

A magnetic cleaning bar encased in a tube wipes out the messages.

Danielle, 22, of Coulby Newham in Middlesbrough, said: "Chalkless boards are used in school but, as far as I’m aware, they have never been used in furniture.

"I chose to make the table from oak because I wanted this to be a classic piece of furniture – not something cheap and gimmicky. I wanted something that would fit easily into any home.

"It could also be used to pass on messages to other people in the home instead of sticking messages on the fridge."

Possible uses for landmark Chambers

INTERIOR design students at Northumbria University were set the challenge of finding a new use for a Newcastle city centre building.

They were asked to look at ways of utilising the interior space of Emerson Chambers on Blackett Street – now home to Waterstones bookstore.

The Grade II*-listed building, which dates from 1903, occupies seven floors and, although there are no plans to revamp it, it was considered an interesting case study for the students.

Sarah Laing, 22, of Tunstall, Sunderland, designed a model of a high-quality Confectionery Emporium. An egg-shaped structure in the centre would house a chocolate fountain and top notch confectionery would be for sale throughout the centre.

A self-confessed chocaholic, Sarah said: "I see this venture as being slick and high-fashion in a similar vein to Hotel Chocolat but really quite unique and unlike anything else available elsewhere."

Teenage crime and obesity led fellow student Henry Marks to envisage a different use for the building – as a centre for children and young people.

His plans involve facilities such as a climbing wall, graffiti areas, recording and dance studios, running track, assault course and a smoothie bar.

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