Mondrian PC

Jeffrey Stephenson made a beautiful Mondrian PC enclosure.

Mondrian is a fanless mini-ITX case design made from wood and hand-cut acrylic tiles. Fresh air is drawn into the case after passing through the exposed heatsink finning. An 80mm CPU fan is mounted under the heatsink and acts as a combo CPU/case fan.

Specific inspirations (including the famous Yves Saint Laurent dress) and a build report at the above link!


    1. Nothing wrong with a PS/2 port. Some motherboards don’t allow a USB KB to control BIOS—possibly for reasons of idiotproofing during startup, possibly because USB chipsets are less reliable. Although honestly I’m not sure if it’s an intentional aspect of the design.

      Aaand research reveals that PS/2 offers much higher rollover. Good for you, PS/2.

      1. The PS/2 port supports the Model M, which is the chosen keyboard. That alone justifies its continued existence.

  1. I can’t believe that BB is supporting such a violence committed against the estate of Piet Mondrian!

    (I’m preaching to the choir, perhaps, but this is a great example of why a Cultural Commons does and should exist. But so many “artists” and “IP holders” just don’t get that. I mean, could you imagine what would happen if this were a big, shiny balloon-dog computer? Jeff Koons would be out for blood, thinking he was doing himself (and us) a favor. (Well, actually, perhaps he’d be doing us a favor, but that’s a different issue.))

    1. The piece is not for sale and Rob knows that so please kindly ease up on the “great example” stuff. Thanks. I don’t need anyone’s permission to do an homage to them.

        1. So you weren’t deriding BB for seemingly promoting a copyright violation? Are you sure that wooshing sound was coming from my direction?

          1. No I wasn’t. I figured that the context in the second paragraph made explicit /sarcasm quotes in the first unnecessary.

            Of course you don’t/shouldn’t need permission for something like this.That was the point I was making.

    1. Mondrian was as close to psychedelia that was allowed in those days. I’m sure the network axed any idea of featuring Further on national TV. +3 for sarcasm but -1 for execution.  
      “Come on, get happy”

  2. “You keep using that word ‘fanless.’ I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    1. From

      Rabbi Simon explained that the priests’ tunic atoned for those who wore a mixture of wool and linen “And he made him a coat (tunic) of many colors” (and the Jerusalem Talmud explained that Joseph’s coat was similar to one made of the forbidden mixture). The breeches atoned for unchastity, as Exodus 28:42 says, “And you shall make them linen breeches to cover the flesh of their nakedness.”

      So apparently a bit of cyberpunk regalia could offset this clash of materials, like Joseph’s technicolor dreamcoat. [Caveat: I’m not a biblical scholar.]

  3. I was going to do this with paint on a machine I built for a gaming network.

    Now I’m really glad I didn’t, because mine would look so inutterably lame compared to this one.

    Really like the exposed heat sink – I’m tired of opening up cases and seeing clogged fins. This way you just vacuum or brush it without opening anything up.

    1. Thanks for noticing the exposed heatsink. Pulling in air directly from the outside instead of recycled internal case air was the main idea…but the dust thing rocks too.

    1. Grammar error and lack of originality.  Don’t be discouraged. You have potential.

  4. It is a fanless CASE design. The 80mm fan is attached to the CPU heatsink and not the case. Admittedly confusing but technically correct. The piece is not for sale so there is no worry about stealing anything from the estate of Piet Mondrian. 

    1. BS rhetoric.  if a machine can’t be run with the MB/CPU combo for which it was designed, without a fan, it’s not a fanless design. 

      “i designed a car that can run on water!!1!! downhill”

      1. Why would a hobbyist use BS rhetoric for anything? What’s the motive? OK. The case has an 80mm fan…or does it? 

          1. I have changed my website to remove all instances of “fanless”. Feel better now that you have won? I’ve always wondered.

          2. Don’t change your site, Skip. You mentioned already that it’s the case which is fanless. Most people with an ounce of sense are able to keep up with that simple idea. Don’t change it just so some lackwit can feel like he has control over what you’re doing. People like that don’t have enough to do, so they busy themselves by being a thorn in more productive people’s asses.

          3. @boingboing-87c57e0d95785f18e5cc69c32ad1e873:disqus funny.  i thought we were having a philosophical conversation about the nature of headlines and rhetoric.  your website can say whatever you want it to.  my point is that some people may be annoyed, in general, by a perceived textual ploy and discount any good ideas contained therein. 

  5. Not sure if I like this or not. Love the concept and it’s very well made, but the exposed heatsink spoils it for me it I’m afraid. Not that I could come up with a better way of doing it you understand and I realise it’s necessary, just spoils the theme. Other than that, it’s brill. Very good work. Wish I was as gifted craftilly.

  6. I like this. I’ve always been a fan of Mondrian (and Data from Star Trek is too… it’s somehow appropriate for computers in my mind, and clearly informed a lot of early graphic design for computer company logos and the like). It’s striking and very fitting as a computer case.

    What struck me though when I finally saw some of his paintings in person (at LACMA in LA last year and I believe at MOMA in NY a few months ago as well) is that once you look past the overall sharp, very digital design, they’re innately analog and very human. He made the lines as sharp and straight as possible… within the limits of his tools which were paint and masking tape. If you look closely it’s far from perfect – not sloppy, exactly, but not digital, and the paint is crackled a bit. And I think that adds a lot of power to the art. From a distance, the arrangement and coloring of the squares is striking and interesting, but nowadays an 8-year-old could replicate it in a few minutes on a computer – in fact that 8-year-old can make it technically better with perfect lines and coloring and no crackling of the paint as it dries.

    If I was going to make something like this, I think I’d want to replicate the analog nature of the original art. In this case, perhaps I’d wrap canvases around the sides of the computer case and actually paint on it (or just use wood veneer and paint on that), and have a thin wooden frame going around the edge. The problem then, of course, is that most people haven’t seen the original art up close and would probably think of my version as a shoddy copy. So making it perfect with acrylic squares works too :)

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