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The Bookshelf Rethought: 5 More Innovative Designs

Elegant anarchy, retrostalgic modernism, and what short circuits have to do with multitasking.

Last year, we did a spotlight feature on five brilliantly innovative bookshelf and bookcase designs. The piece enjoyed unprecedented popularity, so we decided to go and look for more. Today, we return with five more such pieces of book-storage innovation — and an irreconcilable desire to own them all.


We have a soft spot for what we call “retrostalgic modernism” — the nostalgia-driven trend of retro revival bent through the prism of modernist aesthetic sensibility. Bonus points if it lets odd bedfellows like video game geeks and design aficionados unite. Naturally, we love this Puckman bookshelf by (of course) Italian design studio Ginepro.

And it’s even in our favorite color.


We raved about this Short Circuit Bookshelf by Philadelphia-based designer Alexandra DiCairano some time ago on Twitter.

It’s a slick design-driven metaphor for the incredible capacity of circuit boards to hold information with extreme minimalist and efficiency — a place where you can proudly place A Brief History of Time and Helvetica side by side.


From French architect and designer Paul Coudamy comes this fabulous, space-age-meets-Scandinavian-minimalism Swollen Wall bookcase.

Designed to articulate the different living spaces of the apartment, Swollen Wall runs floor-to-ceiling from the bedroom to the office, through the hallway, offering various pockets of display and storage for books, speakers, posters, vases and other home decor objects.

We love the contrast between Swollen Wall‘s fluidity and the inherent angularity of traditioal living spaces. There’s something elegantly anarchist about it.


Granted, this project by designer Isabella Vaverka is closer to experimental, exploratory art than to literal bookshelf industrial design — but that makes it all the more enticing. Part rebellion about the commodification of books in the digital age, part celebration of her personal collection, the project shifts focus away from books’ content and towards their history and the designer’s personal relation to the objects themselves.

The result: An bookshelf adapted to Vaverka’s own collection of literature, which we find to be a beautiful embodiment of the age of hyper-customization.


Multitasking may be a bad idea when it comes to the brain, but it’s a win for objects. Like this delightful, colorful Time-Shelf by Belarus-born, Paris-based designer Dzmitry Samal, which combines two simple functions in a playful way: time-telling and book-storage.

We don’t normally feature concept designs, but this one is so ingenious it’s only a matter of time until it hits the production line. And we’ll be waiting at its end, open-armed and drooling.

Published February 24, 2010




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