Krause Wessels “One”
Wall unit and concealed wine rack
Kiaat (solid and veneered board), Parquet tops, distressed copper
Brief: Karin and Jaques wanted a bespoke wall unit for their living room. For inspiration, Jaques supplied images from the Period Correct store in Costa Mesa California. Karin wanted the appearance to be “rou hout”.
Commission: A preliminary sketch was approved . Kiaat, aged copper and parquet blocks were chosen as the palette of materials.
My relationship with Kiaat goes back to my childhood. My father, a hobby woodworker, loved Kiaat or Mukwa as it was known in Zimbabwe. I grew up with the distinctive smell of Kiaat sawdust in the workshop and learnt to identify Kiaat trees in the wild from their strange brown fried egg like seeds and blood red sap.
Kiaat is valued for medicinal purposes. Traditionally it was used to treat ring worm and black water fever. It was even used to increase the supply of breast milk. In African history, Kiaat was believed to have magical powers, possibly because of the blood like sap. For this reason and its fire resistance, Kiaat was sometimes planted as a hedge around a Chief’s enclosure.
For me, Kiaat symbolizes safety, healing and abundance.
The Kiaat in this piece is from Mozambique. Kiaat is a protected species in South Africa. So far it does not meet the criteria for the CITES Red List and is grown sustainably in some areas. There are concerns about its future and care is taken to source responsibly and to ensure product longevity. Repurposing Kiaat parquet blocks is both responsible and fun.
Copper is a core element, pure in that it is essentially the same as it was extracted from the earth. Copper’s healing powers are well known, but for me it symbolizes life. Copper is alive in that it dynamically interacts with the environment, growing old gracefully! The fact that something so graceful and alive comes from a humble industrial background as a water pipe makes me wonder what it might symbolically transport in its new role.
Fit for purpose
If the materialist this piece is made from symbolize safety, healing, abundance and life, it is only fitting that its belly will be used to store wine.