"Museum quality" is a phrase often bandied about, but in the case of this sleek cast-aluminum shelf, the appellation actually applies. In a collaboration between String Furniture and Stockholm-based studio TAF, the console shelf was originally designed for The Swedish National Museum to display a newly commissioned group of artworks. Also a superb display spot for collectibles in the home, it makes for a stylish perch for the accoutrements of everyday life—keys, books, a cellphone—in a hallway or entry.
11" w x 3.2" h x 9.5" d (28x8x24cm)
When a Swedish publisher held a bookshelf design competition in 1946, there was no way of knowing the result would become one of the most iconic concepts of the 20th Century. Bonnier wanted to jump-start sales of its books in the postwar economy but realized customers would need a place to store them at home. The winner, out of 194 entries in all, was Nils Strinnings (with an assist from his designer wife, Kajsa) and his system named String.
Based on a ladder-like, coated-wire framework, it was lightweight, versatile and redoubtably stable. Not to mention quick to assemble, easy to reposition and little trouble to transport. String was an immediate success far and wide—especially with a newly identifiable younger generation. Just a few years later, in 1950, the shelves were even ordered for the new UN headquarters in New York. String continues to produce the timeless original designs as well as updated versions for both residential and office spaces.
"TAF’s aim is to make ordinary life less ordinary through subtle but effective changes in how products and architecture appear and function,” say Mattias Ståhlbom and Gabriella Gustafson. The designer duo founded the Stockholm-based TAF Architects studio to breathe new life into everyday—and ultimately necessary—tools for living.
With a range from lighting to furniture design to custom projects, TAF’s work has been exhibited at MoMA in New York and the Swedish National Museum in Stockholm. What unites the diverse offerings is a unifying and innovative approach to find the tipping point where, as they say, “everyday objects by their very commonness can be made uncommon.”