5 Modern Bookcases that Elevate Storage to an Artform
For book lovers and enthusiasts of all things orderly, these five high-design bookcases and shelving units from Driade, Bonaldo, Blu Dot and others offer storage as well as moments for curated and personalized display.
Totem by Driade
Architect Bjarke Ingels approached the concept of his new bookcase for Driade as he would a building, developing a freestanding structure of stacked volumes. Called Totem, the shelving unit makes a distinctly architectural impression, enhanced by its pleasing geometry and kinetic energy.
Each of the individual solid oak boxes are sized differently and placed askew, giving Totem a curious sense of movement. The open containers are then split diagonally into quarters with an X-shaped spacer to create small frames or dioramas in which to display personal objects. The self-supporting structure is set on a revolving floor system that allows it to be rotated and easily accessed. Considered by Ingels a “magical, open place to collect one’s perpetual obsessions and daily habits,” Totem from Driade can be transformed into an intimately personal cabinet of curiosities.
Arpa bookcase by Bonaldo
Designed by Italian duo Gianmarco Codato and Luciano Trevisiol for Bonaldo, the Arpa bookcase is a study in materiality and visual lightness. The slender metal uprights that wrap around the wooden shelves provide both structure and support, gracefully suspending the horizontal planes.
Meaning harp in Italian, Arpa expresses a harmonious rhythmic sequence with the vertical insertions arranged around the perimeter reading like tense strings on the musical instrument it’s named for. The composition also allows for the surface of the shelves to run uninterrupted along their lengths and widths; rounded on the ends, the units fit into a multitude of domestic and professional settings.
Available in two sizes, the bookcases from Bonaldo can be configured with Canaletto walnut or smoked oak veneer shelves and the metal frame can be painted in six standard (white, anthracite grey, dove grey, brown, black – all matte – or supreme anthracite) and three specialty (matte bronze, matte lead or matte pearl gold) finishes.
Perth bookcase by Arhaus
Handmade by a local family of Romanian artisans, the Perth bookcase from Arhaus is distinguished by its asymmetrical arrangement of vertical structures. Each component of the unit is made from alternating layers of (sustainably harvested) oak, ash and spruce and undergoes an extensive two-day-long, four-step hand-finishing process, ensuring that each Perch bookcase is unique.
The rounded edges soften the overall effect without detracting from its room-anchoring presence. Part of a larger collection that includes a sideboard and two dining tables, Perth is at once stately and subdued and provides ample opportunity for showcasing books and other personal items.
Not for Nothing Shelf by Blu Dot
With a streamlined design that forgoes any precious details, the Not for Nothings shelving units from Blu Dot can be placed along a wall, tucked in a corner or positioned as a space divider. The three trapezoid-shaped shelves present a tidy surface for displaying goods, while a raised lip on each symmetrical side helps keep them in place. The units are supported by three slender legs that don’t impede visually or physically.
Made from lightweight aluminum, the Not for Nothing shelf from Blu Dot can be easily moved around to where storage is needed and, offered in two sizes, can be used for singular installations or group showings. Five powder-coated colourways that range from subdued to bold are available: White, Olive Green, Marine Blue, Oblivion (a deep black) and Mustard.
Lloyd Tex bookcase by Poltrona Frau
When envisaging the Lloyd Tex bookcase for Poltrona Frau, French architect Jean-Marie Massaud played with differing levels of transparency and lightness, obscurity and shadow. First varying the height of each alternating shelf to create a structural cadence, Massaud then took inspiration from hi-fi speakers and included movable panels made from Techno-fabric (a semi-transparent technical fabric) in either light taupe or dark grey. Set on invisible horizontal tracks on both sides, the screens can slide along the length of the shelves to create “ever-changing sequences.”
The fabric also forms both ends of the double-sided Lloyd Tex bookcase, which can be used as a room divider as well as display case. Made from oak-veneered HPL laminate in a deep matte lead finish, the handsome self-supporting unit from Poltrona Frau combines solids and voids and allows for dynamic interactions with the items on display.