Shelving: 7 design icons that make our lives easier
A design icon is a piece recognizable by its shapes and finishes. But not only. Generally, a design remains in our memory because it can offer an ingenious and tight solution. All these models are visually simple and functionally versatile. Shelving is an essential element in any home. However, some concepts have been introduced throughout the brief history of industrial design that makes them adaptable and customizable furniture, such as modularity. From the proposals of the pioneers of international design, through creations made in Spain, to the most current products, we show you some essential pieces.
One customer, one piece of furniture. Discreet, timeless, simple, understandable, aesthetic, durable, environmentally friendly... Without a doubt, the Regalsystem 606, created in 1960 by the German Dieter Rams, fulfills the ten principles he established for product design. This shelving system is an ingenious solution based on the minimal expression of the elements. A series of rails, a fixing piece called E-track, and a small cylinder to anchor each component are the keys to this proposal. Thanks to them, the system adapts to the dimensions of the space and can be expanded over time if necessary. Furthermore, the shelves and drawers make it a versatile solution that assumes different functions: desk, bookcase, sideboard, auxiliary furniture...
Although the combination possibilities are striking at first glance, their genius lies in their sustainability. For Dieter Rams, the scarcity of raw materials and resources was an issue that had to be addressed from the very first steps of creation. Thus, he conceived it as a product designed to last as long as possible. "In the long run, it's cheaper and better for the planet to create designs that can last," explains Mark Adams, director of Regals, the brand that makes the Regals. VitsœDespite the fact that almost 60 years have passed since the Regalsystem 606 was launched, its appearance is still as current as when it was born.
A constructivist bookcase. Charlotte Perriand is one of the necessary figures to understand interior and furniture design today. She is a French architect and designer responsible for furniture and interiors in Le Corbusier's studio, an influence evident in the Nuage bookcase. Although perhaps the LC4 Chaise Longue or the LC7 Swivel chair, both developed in collaboration with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, are better known, Nuage is one of her solo creations that has remained on the market for the longest time. The Frenchwoman was inspired by Japanese architecture for this design, although she also draws from Bauhaus sources.
Cassina is the brand responsible for the fact that this iconic design continues to be manufactured today. However, its spirit is the same as when it was created: a modular piece of furniture capable of adapting to the space and with many possibilities for customization according to the tastes of each individual. Materials, finishes, and colors intermingle to create the arrangement that best suits the room.
A box that goes a long way. With the premise of reducing resources in mind, London-based Spanish designer Tomás Alonso has created the modular storage system for Ikea's PS line. It is a simple wooden box from which three of the six sides have been removed. This reduces the material used, and the result is very effective, thanks to the touch of color. Depending on the number of modules we have, we can create from an independent shelf to a small table or a large shelf by placing them in a staircase arrangement. In addition, the combination of natural wood and pastel tones allows us to customize the result. Beautiful, functional, and straightforward.
A bookcase on wheels. Literatura is one of the classics of contemporary Spanish design. Vicent Martínez created it in 1985 under the brand name of his company, Punt. Double shelves characterize it with one of them, the front one, on wheels. This allows having two storage lines and moving the front part to access the books in the second row. Although it has been on the market for a long time, "it is curious that many people are still discovering it as if it were something absolutely new," says Vicent Martínez.
In 2012 Punt Mobles decided to launch two new versions of this boot to new habits in the home. Literatura Light - pictured here - is designed to house large books or singular objects. On the other hand, Open presents a more open and transparent volume that dispenses with the back of the bookcase, becoming a storage system for books and a space divider.
A piece of furniture to promote reading. In 1954, the Swedish publishing house Bonnier was determined to promote literature in their country, so they thought it would also be necessary to create a piece of furniture to store books. To this end, they launched a competition whose premises were to develop an inexpensive, easy to assemble and functional piece of furniture and light to improve its transportation. The winning design was String, the work of Swedish designer Nils Strinning in collaboration with his wife, Kajsa Strinning, also a designer.
It is a modular shelving system, with metal ladder-shaped sides and simple shelves placed on the structure.
The system is based on two widths, 60 and 80 cm, conceived to rest on the floor or anchored to the wall and with which almost infinite combinations can be formed. Its metallic finishes and different woods and colors give this design a chameleon-like characteristic. A shelf that is so much more. In 1978, designers JM Massana and JM Tremoleda created the Tria system for the Catalan firm Mobles 114, clearly inspired by String but with an air and personality of its own. Something as simple as its diagonal side rod gives excellent strength to the structure while at the same time giving it its stamp. The shelves are available in 60 and 90 cm and can be adjusted to the desired height. In addition to the basic version, Tria 36 has a greater depth than the classic version. A large number of accessories such as cabinets, drawers, desks, or shoe racks can be incorporated, expanding the possibilities of this bookcase.
Another of the most current versions is the Tria Pack, with a depth of 24 cm, specially designed to be placed in small spaces. In addition, its lightweight structure makes it an ideal piece to create storage in narrow areas without overloading the space. Due to its materials and finishes, it is a design that can be placed indoors and outdoors, as it is very resistant to humidity and cold.
The piece of furniture that inaugurates the staircase-bookcase trend. Italian designer Vico Magistretti always declared himself a lover of objects with fabulous "expressive presence in space with the minimum of materials and the minimum of apparent effort." That is why his Nuvola Rossa design, from 1977, has become one of the icons of furniture design and one of the most replicated at the domestic level. Moreover, the simplicity of its structure, based on a folding wooden ladder, makes it an object of incredible lightness and dynamism, as it breaks the traditional orthogonality of bookcases to play with diagonals in the front area.