Rigidity may be given when it comes to the appearance of books, but modern designers have seen to it that this doesn’t dictate the shelves that house them.
More than ever, personal taste is the deciding factor as storage space is given free reign to interact with design, user and environment. Go with the flow and put your book shelves on show.
1. Console Book Shelf:
Reading doesn’t get more comfortable than this. Regardless of where you like to read or study, Stanislav Katz’s Console Book Shelf will keep you engrossed for hours without moving rooms for missing material.
Flanked by two fitted shelves on either side and below it, the reclining part of this unit is as aesthetically appealing as it is functional for reader and book alike.
Designer website: http://www.stanislavkatz.com/
When is a bookshelf not a bookshelf? When it’s a letter of the alphabet or a floating square. In short, a Lago invention. Well-known for their fluid, unconventional thinking, Italian masters of innovative furniture design, Daniele Lago and Massimo Bonnetti, have taken their free-thinking brand of expression to new levels with their floating ‘Shelf System’ range.
Called Tangram, the shelf system beautifully combines functionality and flexibility in its mission to create interaction between storage unit and items that are being stored.
By creating the illusion of weightlessness, the designers succeed in giving books as much prominence and appeal as the bookshelves, which come in a range of funky designs and shapes.
Designer website: http://www.lago.it/
3. Bookcase Into a Bed:
A great solution for maximizing space, Karen Babel’s bookcase-cum-bed promises to expand limited home horizons.
The mattress, which is made of four interlockable pieces, forms the base, which surrounds five storage shelves when placed in an upright position on a wall-mounted frame. To form a bed, the mattress pieces are locked together – with two parts for a single, and four for a double.
4. Cave Book Shelf:
Inspired by the spacelessness of modern Japanese homes, Sakura Adachi created a womb-like reading room amidst a series of clean-lined shelf systems to keep the connection between reader and book as intimate as possible. Not for giants or those who prefer a more laissez faire approach to their favorite pastime.
Designer website: http://www.sakurah.net/
5. Andreas Hegert’s Book Shelf:
A rebel with a cause, Andreas Hegert gives anarchy a functional meaning with this squiggly trio of shelves, which range from 40cm to one meter in length. If you’re one of those eclectic readers whose interests range from Tolkien to Hegel, this random collection of shelves will suit your philosophical rhythm.
Pay no attention to the linear structure of walls, floor and ceiling, but mind you don’t cover the light shades, which are made of powder-coated sheet and fitted with LEDs.
Designer website: http://www.andreashegert.se/
6. Good Morning Technology Bookshelf:
A modern take on Scandinavian Shaker simplicity, this Danish blue and white block effect uses rectangular wood and metal cubbies as both storage and structural support.
An added beauty of the chequered system lies in the fact that the height can be adjusted and books are stacked horizontally or vertically.
Designer website: http://www.gmtn.dk/
7. Bookseat shelf chair:
There’s something to be said for keeping all your books and magazines in the place that you want to read them, as this all-in-one unit shows.
Rated as one of 10 must-sees at Toronto Interior Design Show, this curvaceous plywood chair-cum-bookshelf doubles up on space and comfort. Available with a felt cushion in colors to suit your taste and environment.
Designer website: http://www.fishbol.com/
8. Books To Go:
Find you don’t always work in the same part of the house or your office is constantly changing dynamics? Rose Cobb’s wheeled unit not only ensures you can move your library with ease, but clamps your books securely on the shelf to ensure you don’t spend your life picking up after yourself. Five stars for functionality.
Designer website: http://www.designbyrose.co.uk/
9. Nar Bookcase:
Another two-dimensional couplet, this metal coffee table conceals a unique hanging book shelf beneath its solid exterior. Like ribs beneath a beautiful carcass, the metal plates on which the books are slung by the bindings also serve as bookmarks.
The clean, masculine lines of the unit make for sturdy aesthetics complemented by excellent dust protection.
Designer: u:b studio, Omer Unal
10. Bookworm Bookshelf:
Designed to twist like a centipede into whatever shape you require, the Bookworm Bookshelf is just that: a firm, flexible, functional animal which needs only books to complete it.
Using extrusion technology, Ron Arad added imagination to a durable product, topped it off with book ends, and came up with an innovative, elastic design to brighten up the most static of environments.
Designer: Ron Arad
11. Twin Bookshelf:
Representing the two sides of Istanbul, Asian and European, Zeynep Cinisli’s design bridges the gap between design and practice. Using DNA-like strands as shelves between twin cells, the symbolism is all yin and yang.
Pushed apart, the cells are display mirrors of each other; pushed together they form a nucleic whole which functions as a wall cabinet. Symbolism at its most functional.
Designer: Zeynep Cinisli
12. Never Ending Bookshelf:
Though it would seem logical to include logic in the making of a practical item like a book shelf, designer Luca Nichetto decided convention was beyond his idea of functionality.
The resultant “Neverending” spyro gyra which he created undoubtedly qualifies as a sculptural work of art, but it is not clear how it works as a carrier of hard-cover books. Vive la difference!
Designer website: http://www.lucanichetto.com/
13. Knockdown Bookcase:
A boon for those who like to do it all themselves, Sung Won Park’s flat-pack DIY unit uses no glue, screws, wrenches or even instruction manuals. Modular wood boards, which are identical in size, are slotted into grooves in a supporting wall and the rest is up to you. As easy to transport as it is to build.
Designer: Sung Won Park
14. Insert Coin Shelf System:
Vaguely reminiscent of shoe racks which use vertical rather than horizontal stacking, this shelf system uses trays, inserted randomly at different levels on a colorful base, to accommodate just about everything you want on display.
Designed by Nils Holger Moormann, Insert Coin provides potential for just about every look: from higgledy piggledy to extremely straight and narrow.
Designer: Nils Holger Moormann
Believe that a tidy desk is a sure sign of a sick mind? XEL takes the concept to a new level with its aluminium and glass rendition of ordered chaos which ensures you can pack every size and type of book into one space without looking anal. Use it like jazz up a stale room or add contemporary pizzazz to a funky loft.
Designer website: http://www.lucanichetto.com/
16. Shelf Concept By Okapi Studio
A versatile solution for those who believe their performance is deeply affected by their environment; Okapi Studio’s bookshelf design ensures boredom is out of the question.
Using lightweight modules that can be customized to everyone’s need, Okapi bends rigid shelf norms just enough to challenge the status quo, but not beyond the ridiculous. After all, it makes perfect sense to mould a shelf to fit the book, doesn’t it?
Designer website: http://www.okapistudio.com/
17. File Tree:
Essentially designed as a modern filing cabinet, Laurie Beckerman’s design is just as suited to books. Fitted with solid shelves emanating like erudite rays from a double diamond shape, her genius lies in its simplicity. Minimalist, functional and aesthetically appealing, this Zen item is a sparkling gem.
Designer website: http://lauriebeckerman.com/
18. Split Shelving:
Constructed by cutting a log into four unequal sections and adding a few slats around the side, Peter Marigold’s honeycomb-like wall units provide endless possibilities for adding new honey to the book hive.
Another one is for those who are not crazy about order, but like a geometric slant to their décor. Descriptive rather than prescriptive, Marigold’s tantalizing solution is equally useful for stacking loose paper and other knick-knacks.
Designer website: http://www.petermarigold.com/
19. Flying Vee:
Like winged ducks in various states of flight, the L or V shape of this customizable design makes a versatile way of keeping your books in a row. Each sheet of bent metal provides space for one or more books to be catalogued or hung according to your personal whim. Fiction or fact? Let the shape of the book shelf dictate.
Designer website: http://www.massieoffice.com/
20. Fly Shelf:
Slick, slim and oh so Italian, this bookshelf system with integrated projection screen will ensure Fellini has as much pride of place as Dante. Keep those aging classics on the shelf and watch old original at the same time. Only those with a projector-based home theatre system need apply.
Designer website: http://www.livit.it/
21. Elastic Bookshelf:
For avid bibliophiles, there can be few things more exciting than the concept of an elasticized book shelf. Made of wide conveyor-belt like elastic bands stretched between two pegs on a wall, Arianna Vivenzio’s invention does more than stretch the imagination.
Besides your beloved books, you can squeeze just about anything into the space in the middle. From CDs to boxes of memorabilia, the possibilities are expansive and the simple design lends itself to hanging a multiple-use series without spoiling the aesthetics.
Designer website: http://www.ariannavivenzio.com/
22. Balancing Shelf:
Dubbed “Maintain the Balance of your Knowledge”, Denis Oh’s hanging shelf is sure to test your sense of equilibrium. Accommodating every swing of reading mood, the pendulum-like counter-balancers will ensure you don’t overload the heavy stuff if you want to stay on an even keel. Feel like dipping wildly? The choice is entirely yours.
Designer: Denis Oh
23. Strip Shelf:
One of the few designers who can claim to have a foot in the green tree-hugging and futuristic plastic-loving world of smart design, Casey Mack has got it sussed when it comes to catering to a global audience.
Made of 75% sawdust, and secured with movable plastic book ends, the adaptable shelf provides a practical home for every description of book, while satisfying the aesthetic tastes of Zen minimalists. “If people’s hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way.”
Designer: Casey Mack
24. Pisa Book Shelf:
Operating on a similar principle to a deck chair, this tall narrow bookshelf is a sculptural piece and a functional whole. Though it creates an impression on its own, it is best accompanied by one or more copies for optimum effect. Lent a certain amount of gravity by the stark boldness of design, Matt Carr’s leaning tower is unlikely to fade into the background.
Product website: http://www.umbra.com/
25. Droopy Book Shelf:
Though it looks like a see-saw that could whip in the opposite direction at any given moment, Jill Davis’s angled shelf has enough centrifugal force to keep it from flipping.
Minimalist in the extreme, its attraction lies in its sheer simplicity and mysterious capacity to keep heavy books afloat. Not quite library material, but ideal for all those manuals and self-help courses you keep dipping into.
Designer website: http://www.jilldavisdesign.com/
26. Book & shelf:
While some shelves are purely functional, others entirely whimsical, Haba Yoshitaka’s concept takes individualist fetishism to the limit.
Customized to fit a given set of books exactly within a 36cm square, the unit is cut, assembled and glued around the owner’s personal collection which renders the entire freedom of choice. Ideal if you have a book collection on a specific subject, or want to win eternal points in the personalized gift department.
Designer website: http://www.nendo.jp/
27. Wall Wave:
Multi-functionality at its most enigmatic, Yoon-Zee Kim’s flowing piece of furniture allows its usage to be interpreted by the user. A zingy, modular shelf unit easily doubles as a fixed seat and desk space or a platform for hanging pot plants and funky photographs. Seeing is believing. Functionality is in the eye of the user.
Designer: Yoon-Zee Kim
28. Cell Shelf:
A cross between a matrix of DNA cells and a ladder in appearance, this unusual stacking device has plenty of space for holding piles of all descriptions.
The thin, vertical shaft gives its height and space-saving points. 10 out of 10 for originality and maneuverability. Aesthetics and functionality questionable. “We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” – Lao Tze
Product website: http://www.untothislast.co.uk/
29. Rolling shelf:
A zany take on floating shelves, Catherine Greene’s design uses individual pieces of wood to stabilize stretched lengths of fabric, which can be rolled up according to the owner’s requirements or taste. An interesting space for blending book collections with decorative bits.
Designer website: http://www.catgreene.com/
30. The Line King:
A grown-up take on the sketching exercise which requires you to create and complete a house without lifting your pencil, the “Line” furniture system does just the same to the interior of your home.
Using a single no-break line, designer Aykut Erol transports a work table, hanger, bookshelf, wine rack, CD rack, TV stand and lighting unit to your living space. Minimalism at its purest, the potential for storage is infinite and can be adapted to home or office. Sorted – in one fell swoop!
Designer website: http://www.aykuterol.com/
31. Fairytale Bookshelf:
A challenge to anyone who has ever thought that you can judge a book by its shelf, this whimsical winged creation gives new meaning to the concept of fairytales.
Enclosed in what looks like a horizontal clasp, one or two books metamorphosise into a giant butterfly when extracted from their pupa. Novelty value beyond 10.
Designer website: http://www.bility.is