The story behind four special heirloom boxes

The best commissions involve a creative and fluid interaction and understanding between the client and designer and this ‘Family Tree’ heirloom box project epitomises this process.

Having previously commissioned Edward to make a chest of drawers and delighted with the outcome, our client asked Edward to consider designing four* gifts that would become heirloom pieces for her grandchildren.

The Family Tree heirloom boxes shown at various stages of production in the workshop

Starting with an open brief, it took a few months to finalise exactly what form this commission would take, during which time the basic concept was born: to incorporate the date of birth of three generations of the family within the design of our Murano veneer.

The curved Murano pattern represents the annual growth rings of a tree, with the dark fumed oak core symbolising the year 1933, and the subsequent dark fumed oak lines marking each family member’s year of birth.

Family Tree heirloom box concept

Executed to an exceptional level of craftsmanship by our cabinet maker Peter, two boxes were made in elm and two in walnut, each containing the same dark fumed oak inlay lines. Juxtaposed with the Murano, the end of each box was designed to represent the bark of a tree. Taking inspiration from traditional Hakone marquetry and Tunbridge ware, hundreds of tiny squares of end grain create a unique smooth pattern resulting in a striking visual contrast. Using a bespoke bearing mechanism, the boxes pivot from one corner enabling the lid to swivel open to allow access to a shallow upper tray, which also opens to reveal a deeper second tray that has an illusion line to the outside.

A composite image of the Family Tree heirloom boxes shown in elm and wanut
Family Tree heirloom boxes shown in elm and walnut with fumed oak inlays

*Our client was so delighted they commissioned another one for themselves!

Family Tree heirloom box

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