The Enigma coffee table collection exhibits great use of kapok wood to create an optical and exotic effect: the Matrix finish.
HESSENTIA | Cornelio Cappellini released the Enigma coffee table collection with its exotic and optical-effect finish in 2021. Made by expert craftspeople and designed by Luca Erba in such a way, the tables pay tribute to antique cabinet-making of the XVIII century while they reveal a modern element to the inlay technique: The wooden structure is processed with cross-grain inlay using white and black shades that alternate in irregular ways.
“Cornelio Cappellini is a contemporary Italian furniture company founded in the middle of the last century in ”Brianza”, a small area close to Milan, worldwide famous for its excellence in furniture manufacturing. The company bears the name of its founder: the forward-looking entrepreneur Cornelio Cappellini. The deepest genesis of the enterprise is even more ancient as it goes back to Mr. Cornelio’s grandfather, who was an ebonist,” the Marketing Department told ArchiExpo e-Magazine in an email correspondence.
“Since the middle of the last century, Cornelio Cappellini specialized in furniture production adopting engineering methods to the ancient ebonistic skills handed down including the inlaid technique used for Classic Style furniture for which the company was initially famous. A path of tradition combined to innovation that brought to a passionate commitment to quality, a significant mixture that is keeping on the research of excellence still nowadays.”
The Enigma coffee table collection exemplifies the company’s advancement in incorporating modern innovations to the skills of antique cabinet-making. The varying white and black inlays are what the company calls its Matrix finish which comes in matt or shiny versions. Pieces of kapok wood from Central Africa, in different colors and sizes, are used for the inlay.
“The traditional inlay technique consisted in the selection of the best parts of the wooden sheet, which were then juxtaposed with each other to obtain visual uniformity. Now the concept has been completely reversed: the inlay process aims to create an irregular pattern in which the harmonious contrast between black and white tiles enhances the minimal shapes of Enigma coffee tables.”
The 800-foot kapok tree, or ceiba tree, towers over the other rainforest vegetation; it stands out for its height but also its uniqueness, known for shedding its leaves during the dry season and having spines or conical thorns that appear menacing. Through its participation in the Matrix finish of the Enigma table, the kapok tree partakes once again in an environment where it acquires the center of attention. As this type of tree originated from southern Mexico to the southern Amazon, found throughout the Neotropics, it’s no surprise that, in ancient times, the Maya believed the kapok tree stood at the center of the Earth. Once again, the kapok is at the center.
Although it is not suitable for weaving due to its silky fibers, it can be used to make stuffing for bedding and life preservers. Its wood is lightweight and porous, making it an excellent choice for carvings and furniture. In the case of Enigma, the properties of kapok wood have made it a key element in linking back to the Golden Age of cabinet making, a time when parliaments such as that of France began passing laws to grant craftsmen a stamp by their respective guilds in order to be able to practice their craft. In France, the stamp included ‘JME’ which stands for ‘Jurande Menuisiers Ebénistes’, the cabinet-makers and joiners guild, further proof that the craftsman had been officially accepted into the guild.
To complete the structure of the tables, a black glass top is used.