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The Bookshelf Rethought, Part 3

Fluidity of form, elegance in asymmetry, brilliant minimalism, and how to roll like a nomad.

A few months ago, we looked at five brilliantly innovative bookcase and bookshelf designs, and then we looked at five more. Today, we’re back with — you guessed it — yet another five.


Remember how Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge used to bathe and dive and sit in his piles of money? If you’re an obsessive book lover, you’re essentially the bibliophile version of Uncle Scrooge. So it’s only natural you’d want to sit amidst your books and immerse yourself in them physically. Enter Bibliochaise by British design studio Timorous Beasties.

Brilliant in more ways than we can count — though, at £4,270, it does come close to Scrooge level.


From Italian furniture house Saba‘s 2010 collection comes this sweepingly beautiful bookcase design.

Elegance in asymmetry, the way only Italians can do it.


Spotted at BKLYN Design earlier this month, the brilliantly minimalist Hold on Tight bookshelf by Brooklyn-based industrial design duo Colleen & Eric is an absolute treat.

The oversized wing-nut bookend cube is just the cherry on top.


Archive II from experimental architectural platform David Garcia Studio is like a book version of Parkwheel, equal parts pragmatic space-saver and playful diversion.

Designed with the nomad book collector in mind, Archive II invites you to step inside and walk away with half a ton of books.


From Frankfurt-based studio Ilio comes Bookwave, a curtain, room divider and bookshelf all rolled into one.

Its mesh-like structure expands in size and its fluid shape stands in sharp — or is it soft? — contrast to the solid, architectural form of traditional bookshelves.


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.


The Bookshelf Rethought: 5 Innovative Designs

Earthquakes, minimalism, and how to reconcile your inner bookworm with your design fetish.

We love books. We love design. And we love the intersection of the two. Some time ago, we looked at five examples of public library innovation. But what about the personal library? Today, we’re turning to five gorgeous bookshelves that put a twist on your home library with ingenuity and design innovation.


Order and chaos converge in Mexican designer Victor Barish‘s brilliant Disaster — a cleverly designed bookshelf that looks like it belongs in a swanky LA loft, post-shake.

If the “sexy librarian” fantasy-stereotype had an interior design equivalent, Disaster would be it.


Bookreading can be broken down to three key components: Storing, bookmarking and lighting. Enter Lili Lite, a bookshelf that combines all three in one brilliantly intuitive design.

One side lets you stack your reading list, the other offers a nifty corner to bookmark your current read as you prop it open.

Bonus points for making the light an energy-saving LED.


From Korean designer Shawn Soh comes this lovely, makes-you-glow-when-you-look-at-it Tree Bookshelf.

The concept was inspired by Soh’s early memories of sticking letters on tree branches.

Each bookshelf takes a week to produce, as she does all the welding and bending by hand. It’s made out of recyclable metal rather than wood, in order to avoid the rather ironic cutting down of trees.

via Swiss Miss


Minimalist and seamless, the Ecco shelf from Parisian furniture manufacturer Artelano and design studio ora ito is made out of timber-based honeycomb wafer materials, taken from certified sustainable forests.

OutIKEAing IKEA, the slick Ecco is assembled without any screws, by the simple interlocking of components.

via designboom


Now that we’ve seen a few bookshelf divas that draw attention with quirk and design goodness, how about one that shies away from the spotlight and remains, quite literally, invisible?

Enter the Self Shelf, which some may recall from a long, long time ago.

This bold assault on gravity is actually a clever and simple trick: The “shelf” is a fake book at the bottom of the stack that attaches securely to the wall, titled — equally cleverly — Ceci n’est pas un livre (This Is Not A Book).

No place for a physics textbook, this one.


And for the hardcore bookshelf-lover, here’s some pretty impressive behind-the-scences timelapse footage of the construction of a custom floor-to-ceiling bookshelf for a DC condo. The organic curved surface was created with 3D software, then built out of 17 sheets of birch plywood.


The Joy of Books: A Stop-Motion Rainbow Intervention

If you, like me, are a lover of books, you’ll find yourself enamored with this husband-and-wife duo’s imaginative stop-motion reconfiguration of the bookshelves in Toronto’s Type bookstore — the best thing since Spike Jonze’s stop-motion love story for book lovers.

Some of my favorite books make cameos in the film — French illustrator Blexbolex’s People, the vibrant PANTONE: The Twentieth Century in Color, Christoph Niemann’s relentlessly delightful I LEGO N.Y., Brooke Gladstone’s The Influencing Machine, a graphic novel guide to the media, and 1493, the untold story of how Columbus changed the world.

Last July, the duo warmed up by giving their home bookcase the stop-motion rainbow treatment:

(One thing that’s always drawn me to stop-motion as a storytelling medium, particularly such labor-intensive executions, is the peculiar, paradoxical way in which it bends our relationship with time, at once compressing its scale and making its passage all the more palpable.)

Where to next? Try some inspired bookshelf designs, or the bookcases of famous authors.

Thanks, Alex


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