8- Bureau Nénuphars / Water lily desk

100cm long by 50cm wide and 91cm high

Designed and made by Yannick Chastang in 2003

The desk was made for a lady to reflect her passion for frogs and the water lily paintings by Monet and was designed specifically to fit in a restricted space.

One of the designs presented to the client for approval before the making of the desk commenced

The patinated bronze frog, sitting on top of the desk is cast from a frog in the owner’s collection and is used instead of a key to open the desk.

The bronze frog is turned to release the tambour. As the tambour is raised, the front draw then opens automatically to form the writing surface of the desk. Compartments below the writing surface provide fairly generous storage space. The opening mechanism is deliberately simple to ensure durability and is made smooth by the use of numerous ball bearing attachments


Opened interior

Interior of the desk showing a small removable tray for pens

The desk is constructed of a wooden carcase, veneered with a marquetry of saw cut veneers. The thick saw cut veneers are preferred over the modern sliced veneers. This is because the cutting process retains the true colours and textures of the wood as opposed to the paper-thin, bleached sliced veneers. The majority of the corners are chamfered to reveal an inlaid piece of solid ebony, chosen to sympathise with the rosewood veneer and to strengthen each edge. The legs are shaped with an elegant and tapered chamfer.

The water lilies represented in marquetry are made of white sycamore, naturally pink “pink ivory” wood from Africa and a naturally yellow wood called espenille. The leaves are made of oyster olive veneer, dyed green. The marquetry is inlaid on a background of dark Rio rosewood. This rosewood comes from an old source which predates the CITES convention of 1992 for the protection of some wood species. The interior is made of white sycamore, designed to contrast with the dark exterior of the desk.

Back of the desk

A chair was made to accompany the desk. It is made of the same rosewood with ebony chamfers.

Chair made to accompany the desk.