Posts Tagged ‘storage’

Nooks and crannies

November 28, 2012

Nooks and crannies, window seats, those little ‘extra’ spaces that are thought through and judiciously placed in a building by clever designers. Do them right, and they become enjoyable wee corners to read, chat, sleep, work or just think. Get them wrong and they’ll sit empty or become havens for clutter. Windows are an ideal place to put them, to enjoy and make use of some natural light. At the basic end, an extended low windowsill may suffice, but let your creativity run wild and you may end up with something like the trapezoidal window with ‘scoop’ seat below.

Bookworm by Atelier 010

via Contemporist

Window seat in an MSP office, Scottish Parliament

Pic – Adam Elder/Scottish Parliament
Photograph ©2004 Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body

DIY Reading Nook

via Trendir

Via Freshome: 36 window seats

North Kingsway Residence by ALTIUS ARCHITECTURE INC

via Formness


Iconic bookcase: Penguin Isokon Donkey

November 28, 2011

The Penguin ‘Donkey’ has been a piece I have been fascinated with ever since I saw it on show at the V&A many years ago.

I’ve been looking at Modernist furniture quite a bit lately, and this piece is another good example.

Jack Pritchard’s Isokon company was one of the few British examples of a firm truly devoted to Modernism. In addition to building London’s Lawn Road Flats, in Hampstead, Pritchard employed a succession of continental Modernists to work for his furniture company. These included the Germans Walter Gropius and Arthur Korn, and the Hungarian Marcel Breuer, as well as the Viennese emigré Egon Riss.

image used with permission from ‘halfbeak’ on Flickr. click on the image for more furniture and architecture pictures

Above the original Isokon Penguin Donkey, is seen in an authentic setting, Jack Pritchard’s Isokon house in Blythburgh on the Suffolk Coast. Commissioned by Jack Pritchard and ISOKON, designed by Egon Riss. The Donkey was produced in 1939 in a very short run, so it is a rare item.

The most efficient use of space ever?

May 11, 2011

When Christian Schallert isn’t cooking, dressing, sleeping or eating, his 24 square meter (258 square feet) apartment looks like an empty cube. To use a piece of furniture, he has to build it.

To sleep, he rolls his bed out from under the balcony, his stairs become become bedside tables and he can even swing his tv out from the wall.

To dine, he lowers a plank from the wall, his flower-stand becomes a support and his stairs become a bench.

To cook, he clicks a spot on his vast wall of click-able furniture, and a spring-loaded door swings up to reveal an instant kitchen: double-burner, dishwasher, sink, countertop and microwave oven. The full-sized refrigerator and freezer click open just alongside.

Located in Barcelona’s hip Born district, the tiny apartment is a remodeled pigeon loft. Christian says its design was inspired by the space-saving furniture aboard boats, as well as the clean lines of a small Japanese home.

Aapartment designed by Barbara Appolloni:
Original story on

Gallery: Books and bookcases

May 25, 2010

If you have a books / book storage mismatch and draw the line at going along to Ikea to buy another Billy Bookcase (now 30 years old) then here are some fresh ideas from designers out there.

1. Sit and read them


Cabinet Chair Bookcase


The Cave

The Cabinet Chair Bookcase from Ontwerpers
This bookcase was first designed to be a commercial information desk for places like hotel lobbies and libraries, but its unique design has caught on with modern furniture enthusiasts. It is also popular for its relatively compact size and because it can hold books and other items all around you, while you surf the web on the built-in monitor keyboard.

The Cave
Everyone loves the idea of curling up with a book – but how about within a bookcase? The Cave is a combination bookcase and lounge chair design that provides a comfortable, cozy and visually secluded place to wrap yourself in your favorite volume and read for a while with a soft overhead light.

2. Move them about


Circular Bookcase


Literatura Bookcase

Archive II by David Garcia
ARCHIVE II, a round wheel book archive, functions as a nomadic library, where the user can travel with his own books. Once still, it creates a room for meeting and inspiration, generating a special acoustic echo for the reader inside the wheel.

Literatura Bookcase
An ingenious answer to a perennial problem: lack of storage space. The Literatura provides a mobile storage unit on the front which is on wheels. This can be wheeled along the track on the base to access the storage units immediately behind.

3. Climb on them




Stairway to Heaven

The StairCASE by Danny Kuo
A smart solution for people with limited space (or a lot of books!). It’s a standard bookcase where each shelf is actually a box that slides out allowing it to become stairs. Just slide out a shelf and you can easily reach the top shelf without a ladder.

Apartment stairs by Levitate Architects
We created a ‘secret’ staircase, hidden from the main reception room, to access a new loft bedroom lit by roof lights. Limited by space, we melded the idea of a staircase with our client’s desire for a library to form a ‘library staircase’ in which English oak stair treads and shelves are both completely lined with books. With a skylight above lighting the staircase, it becomes the perfect place to stop and browse a tome.

4. Rely on Ron


Bookworm Bookshelf


The USA Bookshelf

Bookworm Bookshelf by Ron Arad
Bookworm is a shelving revolution. A colourful, transparent, flexible bookcase with which you can express a little personal creativity, when deciding on how to figuratively shape and fix the shelf to the wall.

Oh, the Farmer and the Cowman Should be Friends by Ron Arad
A bookcase inspired by the map of the United States. It’s OK, nobody appears to understand the title.

5. Customise your storage solution


Timber frame bookcase


Bookshop bookcase

Bespoke circular bookcase by Blue Ridge Timberwrights
A Virginia hybrid timber frame, this home was inspired by the design of a circular cottage the owners had seen while traveling in Europe.

Vagabond Bookshop bookcase by Smansk
An unusual bookcase design that based around the concepts of proximity distance and multi-dimensionality. The idea was bring the outside world into the shop. A map of the local area provided the basis for the floor pattern, which continues up the walls in the form of a shelving system able to accommodate guides to all the world travel destination.

6. Reuse them


Book Wall


Book Planter

Book Wall by Jan Van Hoof
If you think of throwing out your used books, think again. Aside from giving or donating it to the less fortunate ones, Dutch designer Jan Van Hoof has exhibited a wall made of cut-up books. The idea the designer has will not only provide new excellent and artistic design but rather, it helps a lot in making our garbage bin free from those bulk books that we intended to throw. In this way, Hoof does not only create a masterpiece of art but he also made a step closer to a cleaner and greener environment.

Book Planter by Gartenkultur
Designed by an Italian company, this nice planter is made of thick books or a stack of comic books. The book is drilled to create a hole as a place for mesh net and some dirt and an isolation material is used to cover the book, so it wouldn’t become wet. This planter is very suitable for small plant such as bonsai.

Dieter Rams – 10 principles of good design

December 2, 2009
Functionalist shelves

606 Universal Shelving System, 1960, by Dieter Rams for Vitsœ

Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer commonly associated with sustainable development and functionalism.

His 10 principles of good design are expanded upon on the Vitsoe site.

1. Good design is innovative.
2. Good design makes a product useful.
3. Good design is aesthetic.
4. Good design makes a product understandable.
5. Good design is unobtrusive.
6. Good design is honest.
7. Good design is long-lasting.
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
9. Good design is environmentally friendly.
10. Good design is as little design as possible.

In 2009, The Design Museum hosted a show on Rams’ work. Info for this exhibition is still available on the Museum’s website: ‘Less and more – the design ethos of Dieter Rams’.

It includes a video of a discussion between Rams and Deyan Sudjic from Vitsœ. Filmed at Vitsœ, in London in September 2008. “Less but better”

Dieter Rams in conversation with Deyan Sudjic from Vitsœ on Vimeo.

ESI references has shortlists of products aimed at the professional specifier. Search, filter and compare products side-by-side.

20 creative bookcases

October 29, 2009 has collated 20 insipiring bookshelf designs from around the world.

My favourite was the bespoke bookcase staircase designed by Levitate Architects for the ‘Veronika and Sebastian house’ in London (via Apartment Therapy).

We have a full list of UK suppliers on, which can be filtered and compared according to your project requirements.

Photo: Kristin Hohenadel / Apartment Therapy

Billy Bookcase is 30

October 5, 2009

Lucy Mangan in The Guardian celebrated the 30th birthday of Ikea’s ubiquitous Billy Bookcase, which will happen later this month.

While Lucy favours a row of 21 white 80x202cm Billys, this editor has a mixture of 60 and 80x202cm units in birch veneer.

ESI reference: