Eugenia Chandris: Destination Greece
Let me take on an authentic retail journey, a peregrination though Greece, discovering its wondrous products and creations.
AMagicCabinet.com showcases premium Greek products illustrated with a rich editorial background.
Fully realizing that retail today is digital, A Magic Cabinet also harbours an analogue mindset, focusing on the craftsmanship of what we sell, from hand embroidered bags from Cyprus to the marbled paper of our bespoke stationery or handcrafted marble objects from Naxos.
It is my objective to profile small Greek businesses which are inspired by a passion for their product, proudly rooted in tradition and memory but with a contemporary vision.
These manufacturers are artisanal and slow growing, staying responsive to the needs and practices of the islands and villages in which most of them are based. Some focus on agricultural economy which was a staple in leading many of the producers out of the economic crisis which begun in 2008. Others rely on handycrafts, pottery, stone and marble artistry.
A Magic Cabinet addresses a sophisticated audience, satiated with ordinary e-shops and the humdrum and superficial contents they may offer. We choose with care, describe in detail and support our producers with empathy, often offering them an initiation into the digital world.
From the sixteenth century, magic cabinets, cabinets of curiosity or kunstkabinetts were produced as some of the most expensive, exclusive and expertly crafted pieces of furniture ever made for sovereigns and leaders such as Emperor Rudolf II von Habsburg, Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria, King Louis XVI of France and King Frederick William II of Prussia.
An astonishing infatuation with magic cabinets was sweeping across Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. These cabinets contained collections of extraordinary, strange, exotic or unusual elements that reflected the sometimes obsessive vision of their collectors. Being affluent and sophisticated, these acquirers passionately accumulated anything from the natural world, like animal horns, teeth or fossils, as well as peculiar plants, rare minerals and handmade objects that satisfied their philosophical, artistic and scientific curiosity. Such receptacles were the harbingers of what we now know as museums but instead of affording access to everyone, these adored collections were the enchanted privilege of their owner showcasing their temperament.
The elaborately decorated doors of the enchanted repositories would open to reveal delightful music boxes, hidden partitions and drawers, in which their owners could secrete away their treasured objects. Cabinets of curiosity, which were sometimes actual rooms, became popular with wealthy collectors as cocooning retreats in which they could contemplate and admire their treasures drawn from the realms of natural history, ethnography, religion and archaeology.
The Magic Cabinet website is inspired by an actual Italian painted cabinet made in around 1760 with Rococo decoration depicting Greek and Persian figures from antiquity but executed in the spirit of Chinoiserie. This decorative style was inspired by the West’s obsession with the East in part due to its exotic imports such as spices and teas. It was from this cupboard that my mother would dispense small gifts to all of us children at the start of the summer holidays.
Every time the cabinet opened, entrancing scents would envelop the room transporting me to a sensory wonderland. The range of these items was lavish. Antiquated first aid kits casually placed next to faded photographs, miniature aromatic soaps, too slippery to grasp and moulded like fruits, bath potions, rich beauty creams, damask decorated Florentine note paper and embossed cards, sharpened pencils and fanciful pens, a wooden top painted with bands of vivid colour and imbued with cedar oil to perfume a closet, all were lodged together.
AMagicCabinet.com, in its contributors’ section, is a unique place for bringing together influential trendsetters, tastemakers and curators telling the personal stories behind their favourite and sometimes unique products and experiences. Moreover, local producers will talk in A Magic Cabinet about distinct local or regional traditions that shape their products, echoing the many different cultures, traditions, ecologic backgrounds and historic developments surrounding their life and work. A Magic Cabinet thus aims to elevate a distinctive selecting and shopping experience to a holistic approach that delves deep into the anthropological realm of home, style and culture. It offers an eclectic selection of premium and rare products preferred for their quality, thereby revealing that value does not always necessitate a high price tag. Visit, discover, feel, see and shop on AMagicCabinet.com