many plain inexpensive bookcases look something like the units that make up this muji system. what's the advantage? it's even plainer. the perfectly proportioned cubbies and lack of a footboard allow these units to be either stood up or stacked on their sides (as shown above) to get the proportions needed. and they are actually priced well, so stacking several isn't just theoretical.
have the good people at hertz furniture systems been learning from david hicks and jonathan adler? the work of both designers displays a penchant for outlining edges in strong colors. hertz, the library supplier who makes these cases, probably had a different aesthetic in mind, but the colorfully traced out edges of their shelves could be used in many ways.
the very first images i posted on this blog were of a stack of painted mdf i called my shelves. they were custom cut to fit into two wall recesses that essentially held them in place. i worried that my little physics based system might not work in another space, but i'm glad to say that they are working out nicely in our new home. it seems if they are wedged snugly into a corner, they are quite stable. i've placed the separate sections side-by side, floor to ceiling.
a beautiful interior layout in this month's elle decoration italia showcases an adjustable shelving system by french master jean prouvé. a similar example from the '50s is shown at top. the smaller piece is from the the '30s. the library ladder (also '50's) is a bit "involved" but stunning nonetheless. the only really readily available prouvé shelving today is the small unit shown below, manufactured by vitra.
of all the "leaning" shelving i've seen, this seems the most straightforward, classic, and flexible. originally designed for a handful of houses he designed, egon eiermann created an archetype which never went into mass production. currently manufactured by richard lampert in germany. the system can build up to 20 feet high(!). yet more inspiration for a great home project.
thankfully for those who want that perfect library touch next to their shelves, this staple of public library furniture is now widely available in home-friendly materials and colors. (though i understand if some still have a soft spot for the clunky brown metal version). above is the melio at dwr.
a single and two-step stool by jasco.
white plastic stool by wedo.