Shaken, but a little stirred: Designer revamps G4 tower into McMartini cocktail cabinet

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A total show piece: The Power Mac G4 cocktail cabinet known as the McMartini.
A G4 tower show piece.
Photo: James Burde

When a Mac runs its course, most of us would sell it, dump it, or bury it in the attic. Not James Burde.

As a designer and architect at Teiki Design Studio in Vermont east of Burlington, Burde spent his spare time transforming an old Power Mac G4 tower into a cocktail cabinet, aptly named the McMartini.

“It was a flash of inspiration,” Burde told Cult of Mac. “I wanted it to be a gift for my brother and hand it over to him and he’s been using it now.”

Burde decided to repurpose the tower and highlight its design, which he said reminded him of American automobiles from the ’50s and ’60s.

A party ‘conversation piece’

Complete with cosmopolitan martini glasses and mixer set, the offset design with two-level shelf has been stripped of its motherboard, power supply and memory, all replaced with cherry veneer wood throughout. The mixer toolset is conveniently mounted to the cabinet to stay put for travel. Burde went so far as to use the CD-ROM drive as an olive tray for a final touch.

Some 50 to 60 hours of Burde’s time went into its design and refurbishment, but very little money. “I think the only money was about $10 for the cocktail set,” he said.

With its eye-catching style as the front panel is pulled open, Burde said it was a “conversation piece” from the outset.

“My brother and I get a lot of James Bond-type comments, and things like that,” he said.

Burde said that it would have been a shame to dump the G4 tower just because “these wonderful designs outlive their component usefulness.”

With its wood veneer interior, the McMartini cocktail cabinet made from a Power Mac G4 is a definite conversation piece
With its wood veneer interior, the McMartini is a definite conversation piece.
Photo: James Burde

History gets an upgrade

Built around the PowerPC G4 series of microprocessors, the Power Mac G4 used a dual 1.0 GHz PowerPC 7455 processor. Apple marketed the line as the world’s first “personal supercomputers.” Cupertino introduced the model in August 1999, making it the first Macintosh computer to be officially shortened and called a “Mac.” It also became the last one able to boot into classic Mac OS.

The enclosure style, introduced with the blue-and-white Power Macintosh G3, was retained through the entire five-year production run of the Power Mac G4. Apple retired the G4 and the enclosure with the introduction of the Power Mac G5, but not before being referred to as “graphite” in color, due to its silver enclosure.

“I remember when I first saw the Power Mac G4 tower,” Burde said. “They were so cool. You’d go to the Apple store and just drool over them. Apple had great designs and still does. Even now, I think, it would have been a shame to just throw it away. It just catches the eye.”

Burde is a dedicated iMac user now, using it in his work studio with CAD software Vectorworks.