Last year, Isaac Taylor wrote a couple of articles for M2 on man caves; one defining nine types of cave and another on the weirdest Kiwi man cave you’ve ever seen. These articles got me thinking about all the great furniture pieces I had discovered during my numerous European buying trips that would give a Man Cave a stylish edge to make it a cut above the rest.
Most men I talk to believe they have a primal, instinctual need to have a space to call their own; territory or a space used to enjoy his favorite activities, recharge the batteries and hang out with mates. Over the millennia, the man cave has evolved from an actual cave to a shed to a den to the current male embodiment of “my space”.
I got to thinking about how we could create some style and great design in these holiest of sanctuaries that could balance the somewhat overpowering nature of the electronics and technical gadgets, like the mini home cinemas, gigantic TV’s, DJ equipment, juke boxes and arcade equipment or the basic nature of gaming tables, pool tables and putting greens etc.
Whilst the man cave is largely designed to entertain male buddies, it should also double as an attractive and comfortable place to bring partners, girlfriends and couples on special occasions and show a little style and panache.
I think the first requirement for a successful man cave is comfort and the best way to create comfort is to choose the ultimate sofa and a couple of classic armchairs. My first choice would be the “Standard” Sofa System from Italian design maestro Francesco Binfare, manufactured by EDRA complemented by the worlds most inspiring design icons from the 20th century’s greatest designers – the Eames Lounge chair and Ottoman from Herman Miller.
From the moment I sat in the “Standard” sofa at the Milan Fair I knew that it had surpassed, in terms of comfort, the hundreds of previous sofas I had test driven over the past forty years. It is even called the Standard for that reason – it is the Standard that all other sofas should aspire to. A culmination of twenty years of tweaking and modifying by Binfare has produced a piece that the whole team or all the boys can fit on and make individual space and comfort adjustments while watching the game. On non-boys nights, the Standard creates the perfect intimate setting to cuddle up to your partner or girlfriend in luxurious contentment. Here is your opportunity to ditch those hideous theatre seats!!
The next man cave essential is drinks, so plenty of storage is in order for the connoisseur collector or large-scale party thrower. A vintage wine collection displayed in a cellar like environment will give your man cave the sophistication and atmosphere to wow your guests and two years ago I discovered the definitive storage wall to do just that.
The “Elite to Be” Wine Book Case becomes your ultimate wine library which can accommodate large quantities if required. The Wine Bookcase becomes the Wine Library. Entirely made of laser cut iron, the Library of Wine holds different bottle sizes, in order to guarantee a proper wine storage. The elements have two different thickness: 18 and 34 cm, in order to place the bottles both vertically and horizontally.
For the sophisticated cocktail lover, there is also the “Isidoro” designed by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau – just wheel out what looks like a large suitcase and voila! – cocktails all round.
For the sophisticated cocktail lover, there is also the “Isidoro” designed by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau – just wheel out what looks like a large suitcase and voila! – cocktails all round. The drinks cabinet becomes a sign of style and atmosphere – an elegant container on wheels that opens like a book with an external handle and a click-to-close mechanism. It’s a prized object, crafted in precious materials and refined down to the last detail. The external covering is in saddle leather and the shelves and drawers are in walnut. Accessories come in chromium metal and a refined fabric decorates the internal walls of the unit.
And to add style to the ultimate bar or bar leaner, nothing can surpass Mario Bellini’s 70’s classic Cab barstool, a saddle leather skin over steel with motorcycle jacket style zips inside the legs. With such high grade saddle leather, its looks will improve with age the longer it hangs around the bar.
And finally, a major function of the man cave, as with all men, is to show off. Sporting trophies, photos of you with various heads of state, your collection of beer coasters, rare rugby books, primitive art, jazz vinyls and suchlike can be effectively displayed on the Random Bookcase – the ‘random’ nature of the different shelf lengths and widths means that all types of object can be stored and displayed effectively. The shelves automatically make every object look like it belongs in a visually planned collection.
Simply put, a man cave is a place where a man can be a man. To my mind, there is no such thing as a bad man cave. However, the decor is a true reflection of the owner’s personality and when you walk in, you can read him like a book. A man cave with style and panache will not suit every bloke, but it will bring comfort and sophistication to the guy who simply wants to live life well.