At the first glance, these cabinets and desks might look like some regular furniture pieces from the 18th century, but when you see them transform, you are sure to be flabbergasted. Created by Roentgens, the renowned German cabinetmakers of the 18th century, these furniture units combine original designs with fascinating mechanical devices. As one turns a key, many of these transforming furniture units literally unfold to expose hidden compartments, secret drawers and mechanical devices.
The German workshop of Abraham Roentgen (1711-93) and his son David Roentgen (1743-1807) was one of the Europe’s most successful cabinetmaking firms during the second half of the 18th century. Some of the notable names in their clients list included Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of France and Catherine the Great of Russia.
Now, a collection of around 60 furniture pieces by the Roentgens is on exhibit as part of the “Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until January 27, 2013.