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Reinventing the Bookcase: Creative Design Alternatives

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Bookcase and Bookshelf Design and Art

Custom Stacked Book Side TableFor my eighteenth birthday, my parents gave me my own bookcase, and it was easily one to the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I mean, as a little girl, I defined “love” as the moment in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast when the Beast gives Belle his library. Every book on a person’s shelf has a meaning for that person, and his or her collection is unique. It’s no wonder that people take such particular pride in the care and display of their collections, why bookshelves are such a powerful aesthetic. My own bookshelf has remained the plain, unstained wood it was when it left the factory back in my teenage years, because I had already salvaged my books from all corners of my room and thrust them onto the shelves by the time my dad proposed his DIY project. It is perfect for me and I’ve never thought twice, but there are people who have given bookshelf design an awful lot of thought

Custom Stacked Book Side Table

Jane Dandy has created a book-storage service for the more particular fans of the printed word. The idea is that you send the books, magazines, periodicals of your choice, plus a fee, to Ms. Dandy and she will craft a side table distinctly cut to house your selections. When she is done, she sends the table, seamlessly fitted with your volumes, back to you and it is ready for display.

Push and Store Cabinet

Chun-Tang Ho’s design bears some resemblance to Dandy’s service, but is somewhat less terrifying to those among us who fear such a commitment. The cabinet looks like a standard, though very lovely, piece of furniture until one notices that it is missing drawers. Instead, the cabinet’s storage space is comprised of many wooden pieces that slide to the back when an item is placed inside for storage, then slide into place again when it is removed.

Modular Cardboard Recycling Bookcases

Modular Cardboard Recycling BookcasesThe term “modular” always brings back memories of the classroom trailers that were added to my elementary school around the time I was in second grade, but Dany Giles design has changed all that. All of the pieces, cut from salvaged cardboard, slot into and stack onto one another to suit the user’s preference. The material makes these bookcases lightweight, portable and fun. Though perhaps less practical for anyone who’s fond of hardcovers and reference books, this system is downright ideal for novel-lovers who tend to move around.

Equilibrium Bookcase

This bookcase by Malagan Design forever does away with the worries about books creeping off the edges of their shelves, though it does defy my very limited grasp on physics. The bookcase tapers upward, each portion a slanted box that keeps the books placed inside even and contained.

Baroque Bookshelves

Baroque BookshelvesI can be honest with myself when I say that I was first drawn to these shelving units because they’re pretty. A lovely addition to any wall, these shelves frame whatever is placed inside. They’re not all fluff though. These bad boys are made of stainless steel and are well up to the challenge of your Riverside Chaucer. The difference between them and you: They make Chaucer look good.

–Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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