August 30, 2005

MoxBox Bamboo Storage from ModernTots

moxbox.jpgUse some of the fortune you saved on the Donald Judd changing table to outfit the rest of your kid's nursery--and your whole house, actually--at ModernTots, a new Brooklyn-based online store and design studio that features some familiar Argington and Oeuf pieces (those guys are really getting around, congratulations) as well as some exclusive designs.

Like the sleek-looking MoxBox, a 5-drawer dresser made of bamboo laminate solid bamboo and high-density MDF, which is then given five hand-rubbed coats of lacquer in the customer's favorite Pantone color. [update: ModernTots corrected me on the materials -ed.] It's $3K, which puts it officially into 'heirloom' territory, price-wise, although plenty of folks have jumped up pretty quickly to call BS on the idea of paying that much money for MDF. [see the comments below, which preceded the further explanation from ModernTots.]


Also worth checking out: some sweet kid-sized seating, and the Ian crib, available in solid walnut or maple, it's as if the Shakers started making Mission-style furniture. Gorgeous, and competitive with Netto & friends at $1,650. The Ian reminds me of the spare, muscular designs of the sorely missed Furniture & Co., which used to be on Greenwich Ave in the West Village. Anyone know what happened to those guys?

Check out the MoxBox ($3,050) and the Ian Crib, ($1,650, and shipping wt=225 lbs!!) at ModernTots [, via not pastel]


$3000 for veneered MDF. I don't want to be the guy bitching about the prices, but really, WTF. For 3 grand I can't even get plywood? Are their margins that razor thin at $3k that they have to scrape $50 off the material cost?

And no piece of MDF furniture will ever last long enough to get passed down to the next generation, so an heirloom it ain't.

We're caught in a vicious feedback loop here. All interesting modern design is outrageously expensive, so nobody buys it. That creates the impression in the mind of the buyers who work for mainstream furniture retailers that nobody is interested in modern furniture. Thus, no modern furniture gets mass produced and sold at normal prices.

Now might be a good time to add links to a discussion of that dilemma at apartmenttherapy. The bamboo laminate could last forever, who knows? it hasn't been around long enough to know.

I read that thread at AT too.

The problem with this stuff is that it's low to mid-end construction at (very) high end prices. $3k for a solid wood cabintet is not something I would complain about. On the contrary, I have spent that kind of money on real furniture, because it will last forever.

This won't. If the MDF substrate gets wet, the case is junk. The drawer slides are screwed into the case (or are screwed into wood strips that are screwed to the case), and the screw holding strength of MDF is about the same as the screw holding strength of wet cardboard. Eventually this thing is going to loosen up- not next year, but long before your kids inherit it. The bamboo veneer will last until you chip an edge, at which point there is no way to repair it short of replacing the drawer front.

I am actually typing this in Vietnam, where I am working on starting up a new baby furniture product line, believe it or not. I am also trying very hard to convince my partners to take a flyer on a clean modern group, because it frankly pisses me off to see people selling crap like this for that kind of money. I know the market is there.

This isn't like window shopping at a Porsche dealer for the 911 you've always wanted but could never afford. This stuff is like a $80,000 Scion.

If you think that this and similar furniture is the "good" stuff compared to IKEA, they really are basically the same thing. Cheap materials. Trendy colors. Etcetera. At least the IKEA stuff has some history and they hire educated, thoughtful designers like Hella Jongerius. Plus, I imagine that the IKEA stuff gets tested and studied quite a bit before being put in the stores.

Just because MDF comes from Brooklyn, doesn't mean it's good.

If you want and can afford this stuff, go for it. Just don't accept this as the be-all, end-all of modern design for kids. Be critical and push these companies to do more.

My kid's jammies are stored in a cherry "Chester" drawer. It was my father's when he was a kid, my brother's, mine, and now it's my baby's. While not modern, it is simple, solid, functional and most certainly an heirloom.

Stop the presses!

Not the most "modern", but actually okay:

The ebony finish "Emily" crib,
Maple Finish Mission Style Crib, and my favorite of these (if only because it doesn't have that damn uneven 'headboard' look): Pewter Finish Crib

I have no idea as to the quality, but they look cool!

I own one of these so called cheap bamboo dressers that you see at The faces are solid bamboo! The piece is built like a brickhouse! No shaky construction here, it's 300 lbs of solid construction that will outlast your grandfathers dresser. It arrived fully assembled because besides being able to pullout the drawers, the unit is tongue and glued at the plant and finished with 4 coats of a high grade lacquer, leaving no edges or faces exposed to raw mdf that could get wet! It has real stainless steal legs, not chrome. When you open and close the drawers, it feels like a vacuum. And MDF is a the best material to use for painting lacquer to get a super smooth finish. What do you think all of the other high end companies are using? Their solid wood boxes are veneer and assembled post finishing with the little metal connectors and many edges and sides are left unfinished. That's why those are falling part. I believe Moxbox is very concerned about the quality of their products.

[thanks, monica, it sounds awesome. -ed.]

hi, i heard ducduc nursery furniture doesn't use mdf, and it's all solid wood. why can't others especially at such a price do it?

[mdf has a bad rap because of the cheap, toxic varieties that turn up in discount furniture, but there is high-grade, non-toxic--or at least less toxic, i'm no expert--mdf as well that people like because you can infuse it with, say, any Pantone color and still work with it like wood. -ed.]

i see alot of people getting their feathers all ruffeled about mdf bieng sold at 3k per unit... as a furniture builder i understand... mdf incorrfectly used is garbage. what i would like to know is this: is the mdf edged with solid wood. and if so, cool it, there is no problem, this piece of furniture will last forever. if not, all the buyers are bieng robbed... it looks like a nice piece. kudos, or however you spell that
ps, high density mdf doesnt exist. mdf stands for medium density fiberboard, hdf high density fiberboard; or masonite
word up

this is ridiculous. i mean, sure, it looks trendy and hip but if I had three thousand extra bucks to blow on my girls I sure as hell wouldn't waste it on a goddamn dresser. and any of you out there who would... why don't you go ahead and send me fifty clams and I'll feed my twins and start their college fund instead of frivolously squandering it on a stupid piece of furniture. fucking american yuppies. get a life.

(note: this is in no way directed at daddytypes, who is my friend... i just like to rant about things that piss me off.)

[sounds like I better throw a sheet over the kid's dresser before you come over. KIDDING -ed.]

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