The Marginalian
The Marginalian

The Bookshelf Rethought: 5 Innovative Designs

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.

Published December 16, 2009




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