truck is a furniture company based in osaka, japan. this is the fm shelf, typical of truck's design aesthetic; beautifully plain, strong designs with a classically danish simplicity and use of natural materials. below is the tk shelf, which looks like an archetype of straightforward industrial shelving. but how often do we actually see industrial shelving this beautiful?
built-ins are the ultimate bookcase luxury, and my favorites are designed by architect hugh newell jacobsen. jacobsen [pictured at top} builds floor-to-ceiling walls of his signature bookcases into his all white, flooded-by-sunlight interiors. the nearly paper thin shelves are called "egg-crate cases", based on the design of antique wooden egg crates [see bottom image, above]. this means there is a basic outer frame to fit the wall recess, filled with slotted horizontal shelves that are then fitted with slotted vertical supports. he explained: “You are always taking books off the shelves and the rest all fall down... With this design, you can remove a whole foot and they won’t.” while these shelves are not commercially available, plans can be found here.
if you want a similar look ready-made, german company interlübke manufacture the studimo system [below], which promises to fill "the entire height of a room down to the last millimeter". studimo is not as thin and elegant as the jacobsen egg-crates, but at least you won't need a carpenter.
this modular system was designed by ugo la pietra for berdonini in 1967, and re-issued last year. it uses slotted, stackable elements to create an extremely unique two-sided bookcase with the straightforward logic of a folk solution. at first glance it seems a little bulky, but a longer look at the design shows it to be virtually irreducible, which is the essence of minimalism. while i'm sure there's nothing "minimal" about the pricing, this seems like very good thinking for a basic but stable stacking system. the single-file stack [at top] would be a great space-saver with the flat side pushed against a wall.
finding a good bedside bookshelf should be simple. something small and unobtrusive, providing easy access to books while still maintaining a surface for a clock, lamp, etc. "yes", i hear you say, "you are describing a typical nightstand, what's the problem?". for me, a traditional nightstand is too bulky and busy, and books usually end up stacked horizontally on a lower level of the nightstand. if the book i want happens to be underneath other books, i'll hesitate to attempt the maneuver from the awkward angle of being in bed. i'm trying to relax there, i don't want a juggling act. also, once books are stacked in a pile, my ocd won't let them be a haphazard pile; they will have to look neat, creating yet another level of apprehension at disturbing the stack. "so", i hear someone say, "line them up vertically with bookends". but, i counter, that would look stupid. currently, i've addressed the problem by stashing a few bedtime reads in a white componibili i'm using as a nightstand. years ago, i used a very simple dresser drawer found on the street in exactly the same way as this "crate" designed by jasper morrison for established & sons. my drawer wasn't sufficiently deep to hold most books, so i tossed it. the morrison design looks a little more ample, but a found dresser drawer, nice & roomy, could do the trick.
speaking of found dresser drawers, the unit below is made from such drawers as well as aluminum angles from the hardware store. a nice project found in the readymade dyi primer.