The “Berlin” desk

This marvellous looking piece of furniture, but I feel a sense of humiliation to it if I called it simply a desk or even furniture. The craftsmanship, the design, the size, the beauty of the painting along with its finely tuned colours and on top of that the hidden compartment that plays alongside its beauty is so magnificent that my words are numb if I have to describe it. This is an act of a true artisan who had to spend painlessly hundreds and hundreds of hours to it.

The year was 1700 and secrecy lied among the royals and upper hands. A small mistake or blown secrets could induce war very easily in Europe. When it comes to businessmen to lawyers to ministers and Kings, there was a very name who could make such kind of design that not only was a piece of decorative furniture but could hold secrets as well. Abraham and David Roentgen were at the top of the game in the late 1700s and made furniture for Royals of Europe.

The Roentgen’s created the “Berlin” secretary desk for the Prussian king, Frederich Wilhelm II, speaking of Prussia or The Kingdom of Prussia (was a German kingdom that constituted the state of  Prussia between 1701 and 1918.

The neoclassic cabinet desk features a variety of inlaid woodwork and gilt ornaments, as well as a lofty stature taller than a man. But, the real workmanship lies inside this stunning piece of machinery. A series of locks and levers reveals hidden chamber after hidden chamber in this unique desk.

Push a button and a secret drawer emerges, push another and one on the other side pops open, push it again and a secret drawer inside the first comes to your service. The desk also features a clock in the upper portion as well as scenes of learning depicted in marquetry on the front of the doors. At the turn of a key, a dumbwaiter of sorts brings into view a previously hidden set of drawers as if from out of nowhere. There really were no other comparable cabinet or furniture makers at the time. It just had everything that a possibly a King would need.

This was a marvellous looking desk made at the time of 1779. With no electronic items let alone typewriter or calculators or even fountain pens this desk named BERLIN was the best solution as a desk would function and it acted as a highly secure vault. I wish and I guess many of us wished we can get hands-on Berlin. Right now it is publicly displayed under the authority of Kunstgewerbe Museum in Berlin, Germany.

The legacy of those two artisans Abraham and David Roentgen lives on with their arts.

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