Dear Disaster by
Jenny Ekdahl

| 6 comments

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

This scale-covered cabinet by Swedish designer Jenny Ekdahl is intended to help victims of natural disasters to recover from their traumatic experiences.

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

Ekdahl was inspired by the idea that creating graphs and diagrams of natural disasters can aid the psychological recovery process after the event.

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

One side of each wooden scale is painted blue, white or grey, while the other side has been left plain, so that they can be flipped to create patterns based on water and waves.

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

The beech wood cabinet is made up of more than 4000 parts in total.

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

Ekdahl recently graduated from the school of industrial design at Lund University in Sweden.

Here's some more information from the designer:


A natural disaster is an event that we associate with destruction, distress and sadness. But a natural disaster is also a phenomenon that fascinates, that is beautiful and at the same time terrifying. This contradicting love-hate relationship with nature was the starting point for my thesis work.

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

I wanted to create an object that could both illustrate my appreciation of natural forces as well as the psychological process of recovery after a natural disaster. By describing natural disasters with graphs, diagrams and simplified pictures they are said to make the events easier to embrace.

As part of my thesis work I therefore investigated what shapes, textures and patterns the human being automatically is intrigued by, such as rhythm, complexity, playfulness and the possibility to leave personal imprints on an object.

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

The interaction with the structure on the cabinet is a way for the user to tell her story, a conversation about sorrow and fear but also about finding meaning and regaining trust in nature after an incomprehensible event.

The function of the structure lies in mentally pleasing the user by showing her personality, feelings and personal marks, and it works as a tactile help by hiding at the same time as it highlights an event for the user, depending on what she decides to do with it. Sometimes you might talk about this process as turning pages in life and move on.

Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl

The cabinet represents water as well as the absence of water, a contrast that also defines a natural disaster. When mud is cracking of drought it produces a similar three-way pattern that water bubbles has, and therefore I chose to use this structure in my design.

The cabinet is made of beech wood with a moving structure on the door consisting of small, wooden scales. I both designed and made the cabinet myself that all together consists of more than 4,000 parts.

  • Carole

    This is great, congratulations to the designer on such an intelligent use of design. I’m not sure about the reason for it being part of a cabinet – unless that was to link it more to the course expectation; but the theory behind the scales, as well as the subtle choice of shape and colour, is very satisfying.

  • duykim

    This work is really stunning!

  • http://thefieldset.com DavidH

    I’m taken with this concept—simple, fitting, and what I imagine would be a rich experience. I wonder about the stability of the stand though, especially in a destruction zone where so much in the environment already feels unstable. Even in the highlighted on-site image the stand doesn’t offer an invitation of security, the first step needed to open the engagement.

  • Roberta Mutti

    Don't know what to say exactly. I've been hit by a flood, a fire, and an earthquake, so I'd say this is utter bullshit. Sorry.

    • scot sims

      Thanks for the utterly eloquent response.

  • xtiaan

    It looks very cool, but the link to its concept is tenuous at best.

    How exactly is interacting with a cabinet a “way for the user to tell her story, a conversation about sorrow and fear but also about finding meaning and regaining trust in nature after an incomprehensible event”?

    It’s really clutching at straws. Interactive and attractive, yes, but a way to heal after a natural disaster has wiped out your home and loved ones? No, not at all, not even beginning to, not even years after the fact and frankly insulting to any victims to suggest your cabinet is imbued with such miraculous healing powers.