Since 1984, BDI has been designing and manufacturing furniture, initially with the focus on media cabinets. Over the years, other product lines have been introduced, including office and living room furniture, as well as modular shelving. The company's designs are thoughtful and engineered with useful and smart features, such as cable management, hidden wheels, and ventilation, to name just a few. I personally own three of their audio storage units, which I acquired over the years, and still use today, so it's not without firsthand knowledge when I point out their fit and finish is top notch. Their use of metal, wood, and glass is distinctive, but all of this emphasis on form never comes at the expense of function.
Reviewed here is the Corridor Media Console, from the company's Corridor line, Model 8179. It is a three-bay, four-door media console; the right and left compartments measure 17.4 inches high, 19 inches wide, and 18.4 inches deep, each with their own door, while the center compartment measures 17.4 inches high, 38.1 inches wide, and 16 inches deep and requires two doors, which are hinged on the left and right side of the opening in a barn-door fashion. This opening could be used for a modest center speaker or sound bar.
Each of the three compartments has an adjustable shelf with seven possible positions in 1.25-inch increments. Shelf pegs are threaded and have vibration control O-rings, which the shelves rest on. The entire unit measures 79.25 inches wide, 20.25 inches deep, and 28.25 inches high. Depending how the cabinet is used, it can hold eight to twelve components.
The Corridor product line's main style cue comes the use of louvered doors, which stretch across the front of the entire unit. It is, however, the clever combination of wood, glass, and metal that tie it all together. It's a modern yet transitional aesthetic that will fit into many interior design styles. My sample arrived in chocolate stained walnut. White oak and charcoal stained ash are available as well.
A 0.375-inch-thick black tempered and satin etched glass slab sits atop the console, with quarter-inch spacers between the cabinet and the glass top, creating an air gap for ventilation, while providing a slick look.
A sturdy powder-coated steel frame supports the entire unit from underneath the cabinet, providing strength and rigidity while acting as part of the visible leg design. This concept incorporates hidden wheels, which allow the unit to be easily moved by one person. Built into the legs are adjustable leveling feet that can extend beyond the wheels to disengage them from the floor, making the entire unit stationary and level.
The glass top has a weight capacity of 175 pounds. Each of the three adjustable shelves can take up to 50 pounds, while the bottom shelf can hold 100 pounds.
Most cabinets that use a modern frameless design require a back panel as part of the engineering to keep the main cabinet square. BDI's design, although frameless, has no such requirement, enabling the back panels to be non-structural. As a result, the right and left compartments' back panels can slide out of the way toward the middle of the cabinet, for easy access to components and connections. Or, the sliding panels can be completely removed to allow for larger components to exceed the depth of the cabinet if needed. Additionally, the center back panel can be conveniently removed as well.
As I mentioned earlier, air ventilation is an important design consideration for BDI, and the Corridor 8179 holds true to that pursuit. The cabinet also has large striped vents to allow for vertical airflow, and the back panels have similar venting to allow for front-to-back ventilation.
Cable management is another staple in the BDI list of features. Holes are provided within each compartment to allow routing in and under each area, keeping wiring neat and organized.
Another thoughtful safety feature is the TV straps. In case you decide to stand your flat panel display upon the 8179, a strap attachment is included to prevent accidents.
If mounting is more your speed but you don't want to cut into your walls, BDI has created the Arena mounting bracket that can be purchased separately, which attaches to the back of the console and extends straight up with a mounting bracket. The mount offers height adjustment, cable management, and can swivel, with support for displays ranging from 40 inches up to 70 inches.
Comparison and Competition
Salamander Designs offers several styles that can be customized within parameters, many of which have the look of fine furniture in both modern and traditional styles. Diamond Case Designs is another manufacturer that creates purposeful audio cabinets that are highly customized. Their styling is more traditional in appearance, which is not my preference, but they are well made with some thoughtful features.
The BDI Corridor 8179 Media Console is an ingenious design that takes into consideration the needs of audiophiles and interior designers alike. Not only is it feature-packed with audio gear in mind, but the BDI 8179 also has the appearance of a stunning piece of furniture. Upon installing this unit in my home, I received compliments instantly. The flow-through ventilation design, cable management, mobility, and flexibility of flat panel mounting options add up to one feature packed design. BDI thought of everything. There are many models within the Corridor line, as well as other styles, all incorporating the features I have discussed here. Before purchasing an ordinary piece of furniture for your gear, I highly recommend taking a look at the innovative designs from BDI.
• Visit the BDI website for more product information.
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