For the past year, I’ve searched for an affordable, good-looking filing cabinet for my home office. Unfortunately, “cheap” and “designer” don’t often mix these days. I had two choices. Get a cheap beige metal box from Office Depot or spend a whole paycheck on a chic filing cabinet from Vitra, Steelcase, or DWR.
I had almost given up when I found Trig, a chic and retro filing cabinet from CB2. But for $150, I was skeptical. The pictures looked decent, but we all know images lie. Since CB2 (a Crate & Barrel spin-off) has no retail store in San Francisco, I also had no way to test it first hand. After a long internal debate, I took a risk, bought it online, and hoped for the best.
Here’s what I got:
Out of the box
Opening the box resulted in quite a mess of plastic and styrofoam packaging:
Here is it is fully unwrapped:
Except for the optional casters, the filing cabinet came mostly assembled. I chose not to install them to preserve a cleaner and simpler look:
Here are the dimensions:
- 15.5″ Wide
- 19.75″ Deep
- 27.25″ High (with wheels)
- 24.75″ High (without wheels)
What I like
I was right about pictures lying. But this time, the cabinet was much better looking than the images on CB2′s website. It was solid and well-designed, paying homage to mid-century metal filing cabinets:
What’s not totally apparent in CB2′s pictures are the nicely integrated chrome detailing that also functions as handles. Here’s a close-up I took:
Like most cabinets, Trig fits both letter and legal sizes. But what I love more is its support for non-hanging as well as hanging files. If you’ve read Getting Things Done, you’ll know David Allen’s disdain for bulky hanging files. Unfortunately, most new filing cabinets are made with these in mind. They’re often too deep and wide for regular folders. Trig, however, is just the right size.
What I don’t like
To reduce cost, Trig omits some niceties. First, there are no security features or locking mechanism, making it unsafe for sensitive materials like your plans to take over the world or those blueprints for a faster-than-light warp drive.
CB2 ships via FedEx, so don’t expect white glove delivery like you would from high-end design retailers. This was posed some inconvenience. Because my apartment building doesn’t have a doorman, I had to spend $40 on a cab to pick it up from FedEx. Not fun.
As another by-product of the shipping process, one of the drawers shifted off its tracks during transit. I was worried it was permanently warped and unusable. Luckily, all I had to do was pull the drawer completely out, put it back in correctly, and it was fine again.
You also won’t find Trig in multiple size configurations. It’s only available with one large filing drawer and two smaller drawers. For more storage, you’ll have to buy another unit.
Nor will you find in a wide range of colors, just steel or blue. I feared the blue might turn out terrible, so I went with the neutral steel version, which turned out great in the end.
My final word
For a mere $150, CB2′s Trig filing cabinet is well worth the money if you want basic functionality with a well-designed exterior. It’s fits well into a home office, but it’s not an ideal choice for hardcore business uses and security.
Note: I did not get paid for this review.