The hardware needs and solution were much more than just needing hinges to swing open panels. The importance of the initial impression needed to be one of a complete theme. The structure that surrounds the niches with vases became what I dubbed The Temple. This temple with lintel and columns, fully carved with vines of morning gloriesrepresents a complete thought. And this thought needed to show few, if any, hints of the next layer. So, any hinges, pulls, etc. needed to be minimal.
The search for the proper hinge brought me from butt hinges to knife hinges to offset hinges right back to butt hinges. I poured through all my catalogues to find the solution to my thoughts. This entire visualization process required many sketches and scale drawings to mock-ups and models to find what would work. There were many requirements including minimalism and strength. The butt hinge is simple and straight forward and the best for this. So, that decision was “simple”.
The next obstacle was unfolding the panels so they could clear the flanking columns that project beyond the panels. This required a forward motion of three inches. So, the entire collection of paintings (three panels) needed to move forward those three inches. The only way to do this was to mount the panels on a structure that could slide in a very controlled way. It needed to be simple to operate, be solid feeling and act in a very smooth and stable motion. I went back to the sketchbook again, thinking. Scouring catalogues was not very helpful because there was nothing that either worked correctly or was visually appealing. Thoughts drifted to a rack and pinion system, ball bearings drawer slides — that type of thing. They could have worked if small enough but this mechanism needed to fit the four inch deep box structure that the paintings are mounted within.
“Temple” hardware — temple is my term for box unit holding painted panels within the carved elements