The Dougong collection is inspired, in part, by the often ubiquitous details I’ve noticed in my travels and time spent around China and Asia.
The Dougong bracket is a complex and beautiful structural joint that was used predominantly in the Chinese Tang and Song dynasties and is a recognizable, quintessential component of traditional Chinese architecture.
Technically the Dougong joint is a structural element of interlocking wooden brackets that join pillars and columns to the frame of the roof.
"In focusing on this detail of layered and crisscrossed beams I intended to isolate, reduce and create a restrained leg which includes a claw like grip that cradles the corner of a horizontal table top or cabinet surface from below."
A load bearing vertical section follows the line of force all the way down to terminate and stabilise the product against the floor.
For strength, efficiency and consistency a standard extrusion of box section steel in 25mm has been selected which can be powder coated in a variety of colour options for this leg and additional metal handle details.
The square, geometric Dougong Dining table is complemented by the plump, soft curves of the Tongue chairs which were originally designed in gentle contrast to this collection. The Tongue chairs were also developed with oxblood red and our deep black noire leather, bringing a certain continuity and harmony despite the contrasting forms.
A closer crop showing the detail of the Dougong metal dining table leg against the compound curves of the Tongue Chairs.
As an alternative to the blackened oak we have also made the Dougong available in our white wash oak finish.
Tongue chairs in white wash oak and tan brown leather surround the Dougong Dining Table in corresponding white wash oak and oxblood red.
The architectural inspiration is also implied in the block like mass and square geometry of the collection, most notably in the cabinetry of the Dougong case goods.
An example of this can perhaps best be shown in the largest piece from the collection, the Dougong Tall Cabinet. Hidden away behind an array of doors and drawers, a sophisticated and neat compartmentalised storage takes advantage of its height from a small footprint. On the left side of the tall cabinet a tall door conceals 4 contrasting hidden shelves, on the right two smaller cabinets are bisected by a layer of three drawers.
Simple T shaped handles and the metal legs continue this homogenous, semantic language punctuating the furniture in a consistent, logical way; this simplicity also paying homage to the Dougong joint of layered horizontal and vertical lines.
Dougong Tall Cabinet by John Reeves.
Dougong Tall Cabinet and drawer handle details.
Dougong Shelving, Dougong Cabinet, Dougong Dining Table and Tongue Chair from above.
Dougong Cabinet by John Reeves.
Upon opening the cabinets the contrasting oxblood red shelves with oak grain are a pleasing and functional surprise.
Dougong Shelving, Dougong Desk and Dougong Tall Cabinet by John Reeves.
At a time when working from home and the home office has never been more important, we introduce the Dougong Desk and Tongue Chair in oxblood red and blackened oak.
The Dougong Desk with drawer and shelved cabinet is packed with sophistication and inspiration that will transport your imagination whilst working.
Taking the architectural detail to new heights, the staggered Dougong legs climb upwards cradling shelves in a claw like grip at each level of the Dougong Shelves.
Shown here the Dougong Shelving in white wash oak and oxblood red (and alternatively in blackened oak below). The shelves are designed to stand against the wall presenting your favourite things; the lower levels being tall enough to even allow wine bottles to stand upright and very gradually decreasing in height as the levels ascend.
Dougong Shelving detail in blackened oak and oxblood red by John Reeves.
Dougong Shelving in blackened oak and oxblood red by John Reeves.
This image clearly shows the beautiful "flame" of the grain in the blackened oak finish.
Dougong Shelving detail in white wash oak by John Reeves.
Dougong Shelving in white wash oak by John Reeves.
Beautiful image above (showing Splash table, Dougong Dining Table, Dougong Shelving and Tongue Chairs) from NORHOR.
"I hope you continue to enjoy receiving the Reeves Design newsletter which has always intended to be a window into the inspirations that go into each design. However at this current time when it is impossible to make and attend exhibitions in a physical way or even go to showrooms and shops, it has become an essential platform and direct link between our product, brand and customers.
I encourage you to reach out with any projects and dreams that may align with our values and vision as we are still operating, producing and creating. I trust we can harness shared motivation, enthusiasm and more enjoyable considered ways to explore culture and ideas; in doing so continue to evolve designs that look towards a bright future."