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This Astonishing Puzzle Table Has More Secrets Than Surfaces

In the Hellraiser series of movies, there’s a devilish puzzle box called the Lament Configuration, also known as Lemarchand’s box, that contains numerous secret tricks and compartments. When fully opened, it looses deformed, sadomasochistic demons upon whoever opened it.

The Automaton Table by custom furniture maker Craig Thibodeau is like a Lament Configuration for your living room–and we mean that in the best possible way. It doesn’t contain any S&M Pinheads, but it’s a puzzle box of exquisite craftsmanship and beauty, containing so many secret compartments it could take a lifetime to master.

Inspired by the famous 18th-century German cabinet maker, David Roentgen, Thibodeau built the Automaton Table not as a piece of furniture in its own right, but as a way to show his customers all the different ways he can hide compartments in the pieces he makes. And it turns out that’s a lot.

When fully closed, the Automaton Table looks something like a bar cart. When you push down on the top, though, the table unfolds and spills open to reveal several hidden shelves and drawers. Even these compartments, though, seem designed to keep strangers from discovering the Table’s true secrets: a magnetic key is used to pull open several invisible drawers hidden all over the Automaton Table, but you have to find the keyhole in the first place!

There’s only one area where the Automaton Table disappoints. A key element of the table is slide-out puzzle with five concentric rotating parquetry panels. When aligned correctly, the panels form a beautiful Louis Cube mosaic. But here’s where Thibodeau unfortunately missed an opportunity to go full-on Lament Configuration: it seems a shame that solving this puzzle doesn’t unlock anything.

Still, just an incredible design. Just imagine if Thibodeau made a game table out of this.JB