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Evoking the casual, humble feel of a sidewalk bistro in springtime, bentwood chairs are not difficult to love—even years after their heydey. (The style rose to popularity during Victorian times, when the Austrian cabinet maker Michael Thonet released Chair No. 14, an affordable and soon-to-be iconic mainstay in cafés and homes of the time).
The design is based on the same technical savvy (you have to steam or wet the wood and then carefully bend and set it, which is still cool if you're asking me) as traditional bentwood, but presented in an untraditional way.
First of all, they're modular—so you can stack or arrange a single shelf unit however you like (tall like a bookshelf? long and low along a wall?). And floating, so your stuff isn't tempted to hang out on your floor. And the bent part of the design, while largely decorative, has the extra advantage of adding a simple endstop to the shelves, which would keep your books from toppling out, and they cast the best scalloped shadows on the wall.
The basic structure is clean and minimal, so they'd probably work with a range of furniture styles in the room. And the added effect of the bent wood accents is charming, even a little romantic, and a good reminder that not all floating shelving units have to be the same old boring designs.
In appreciation, here are 5 other floating shelving solutions, some modular and some simply multipliable, that we love right now.
- Left: The Loopholes Package by Fermetti & Oskar Vermeylen for Atelier Belge costs 295 Euros and features clip-on hooks, holders, and fold out shelves that can be re-arranged or added to at will.
- Right: Sent as four shelves and seven steel pieces, the The Link Shelf Setup by Monoqi is configured at home in the arrangement above. It looks slung, as if by rope, but the hanging parts are metal. (360 Euros)
- Sold in the unit shown above on the right (for 109 Euros), the String Pocket Shelf (here, in Ash White) was designed by Nils "Nisse" Strinning in 1949. Stack the units up and down or side to side, or just opt for one since it already has 3 shelves.
- This powder-coated set of metal brackets and wooden shelf are sold separately by Ferm Living, so you could opt just to get the brackets ($55 for two) and drum up your own wood at the local salvage yard.
- This Diamonds Cross Plane Shelf from Urban Outfitters wins for a harmony of price ($139) and wall coverage: 3 shelves on an iron hanging unit will actually hold its weight.