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Bauhaus-inspired shelving systems

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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The Bauhaus movement is one of the most well known and well documented periods in architecture and design history. What initially begun as a school, the ethos was to marry the differing backgrounds and artistic fields of their pupils together. Little did the founders know at the time, that the practices and methodologies taught would influence a huge score of design disciplines such as typography, industrial design, architecture and art, for decades to come. The ripple of their brilliance was even felt in the manufacturing industry, where easy to assemble items made from inexpensive materials soared to popularity.

Given this, it comes as no surprise that today, eighty years later, we are still finding examples of Bauhaus-inspired furniture. One such element of furniture which still follows the vernacular of the Bauhaus period is shelving. Known for its functionality and simple, aesthetic beauty, designers continue to draw inspiration from the highly acclaimed shelving system devised by Marcel Breuer in 1930. ’Form ever follows function’ is a phrase coined during the height of the Bauhaus moment, and is very much evident in the wonderful examples of Bauhaus shelving systems we're going to take a look at today.

Colour pop

For those who are familiar with the Bauhaus movement and its teachings, will know that there are a few principles that should be adhered to when designing furniture. First and foremost, the aesthetics of the piece should follow when the functionality of the item has been addressed. Then, in terms of decorating, it should be as simple, and as understated as possible, with only primary colours (yellow, red and blue) used as accents. In this first example of Bauhaus inspired shelving, ON&ON have created this exciting and vibrant set of shelves made from 100% recycled aluminium. Painted a fun shade of sunny yellow, the brackets and wall mounts are adjustable, meaning you can be flexible when it comes to choosing items for display.

Functional aesthetics

Cattelan Italia:  Living room by Livingfurnish Ltd
Livingfurnish Ltd

Cattelan Italia

Livingfurnish Ltd

Everyone knows that Italy is a country synonymous for beautiful design, so it comes as no surprise that we find this functional, yet outstandingly modern shelf from Italian designer Andrea Lucatello for Cattelan Italia. Though Italy was not subjected as much to the Bauhaus movements as other countries were, the nation still adopted many of the principles taught into their own industrial design techniques. Living Furnish help to bring the aesthetics of Italy into our homes, with the Piquant designer bookcase. The matte white finish contrasts wonderfully against the walnut sliding doors, which allow the user to choose what item are on display and when. A limited material palette and strict geometry come together to create a piece that exemplifies modern design to the fullest.

Wooden wonders

Dixon Modular Storage :  Living room by Dare Studio
Dare Studio

Dixon Modular Storage

Dare Studio

Dare Studio brings us this retro revival shelving unit which too, despite its intricate appearance, draws inspiration from the most famous of all modern design movements. The hierarchy of the shelf is interesting—the opening at the top, which is the part that is most out of reach, would house items that aren't needed on a daily basis, perhaps even away from the curious fingertips of little children. The second part suggests that books or photo frames are stored here—elements of your life that you want on display and that are acceptable for people to handle. Lastly, you have a set of drawers to hide away certain items. If this is in your bedroom, perhaps it's your intimates, or if in the living room, items that are easy to lose like remote controls and batteries. Whatever the case, this retro, Bauhaus-inspired shelving unit is a wonderful modern example of furniture from eras passed.

Push, pull

bookcase TOTEM:  Living room by design by nico
design by nico

bookcase TOTEM

design by nico

This example of shelving is simple, yet quirky and contemporary in its own right. Despite its white and statuesque appearance, bookcase TOTEM by Design by Nico, creates a playful notion of rhythm and variance through the angular and geometric openings. Embodying the notion of ’form ever follows function’, these boxes can be stacked as high and wide as you desire—perhaps you only need one or two, or desire an undulating wall of shelves? Whatever the purpose, you can be sure that these simple, yet intricate shelves will wow both family members and guests alike. You can store books, memorabilia, or family photos within these units in a functional and practical fashion. 

Out of the box

Summer - wall mounted shelf:  Living room by Martin Gallagher
Martin Gallagher

Summer—wall mounted shelf

Martin Gallagher

We finish our article today with this quirky shelf from Martin Gallagher. As mentioned earlier, the only colours that were considered acceptable in traditional Bauhaus design were primary. Though it wasn't generally encouraged to include curves in design, we love the shape of these units which can be mounted alone or in a series for a striking effect. The lip provided by the shape means that your possession will remained safely stowed, which is especially important if you plan to store breakable or fragile items inside.

To see more quirky storage solutions for the home, check out the following ideabooks:

7 smart storage solutions for your home

6 simple ways to organise your home

Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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