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Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone

Foreword

by Richard Swinburne

Nick, or Greensabbath as he's also known in some modding circles, is renowned for his incredible mastery of all woods that grow. While you'd think trees would fear him coming, we'd actually guess they'd be proud to end up in one of his carpentry wonders.

If you're unfamiliar with his work, it's well worth taking the time to check out Nakamura, The Three Evils or last year's Mod of the Year winner, Yuugou.

When Nick approached us with the idea to great a funky new mini-ITX mod with just the pictures below, we jumped at the chance to help him, and teamed him up with AMD and J&W, while he also approached OCZ for further sponsorship to make an SFF masterpiece. Don't just skip to the end, I implore you to read it in depth as to how he did it because it's certainly worth it!

Introduction:

After completing my last few cases, I wanted to try my hand at something a little different. People often asked me why, if I was building cases from scratch, I would simply use the “standard” PC chassis shape and besides the reply “it just works that way”, I did not have much to say back to them. I also always loved how Jounge’s (Gert Swolfs) Hypercube 2 Case looked and so I decided to build a cube case. The concept for the case went further than just the shape and it turned into a desire to make a computer case less that looks less like a computer case and more like a beautiful object.

Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design

Inspiration

I was looking through an issue of Architectural Record one day and noticed the renderings of the Beijing Digital building which would be the technical centre of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Immediately I thought to myself “this could be a computer case”, at this point not knowing that I was actually going to build another one. When it came time to build another case, this building came immediately to mind. I showed the renderings of the building to my friend, Belgian architect, and fellow modder, Gert Swolfs and he responded by saying that he actually did the renderings and would be happy to render the case for me. These renderings are shown below.

Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design

Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design
Click to enlarge

Design

For the design, I took the “circuit board” design on the building and transferred it onto a 30cm cube. Three sides would contain this design and the other two sides would have a movable fin design. The fins act as a “skin” (excuse the architecture lingo) that could be opened or closed depending on the heat load inside.

Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design
Click to enlarge

In order to have space for a DVD drive (or Blu-ray in the future) and a full size power supply to power the full size video card, I decided to add a second layer which would go under the original cube. The DVD drive, PSU, and most of the wiring would be housed here and the J&W Mini-ITX motherboard, AMD Radeon HD 4850 GPU, AMD Phenom X4 9350e CPU, OCZ So-DIMM DDR2 RAM and the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB hard drive would be housed in the top section.

Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design Chiaroscuro by Nick Falzone Inspiration and Design
Click to enlarge

The materials were originally going to be aluminum all around but Gert suggested wood and (big surprise) I liked this idea. To go with the technology theme, I decided to use solid ebony for the cube because the jet black nature of it makes it almost not even feel like wood. The name of this case is Chiaroscuro which means light and dark. The ebony is the dark and I used curly maple for the bottom section to contrast as the light. For the skeleton inside, I chose black brushed aluminum and UV acrylic thanks to the great guys at AC Ryan.