Library ladders can serve a function in a domestic setting, and their use is not limited to personal libraries or bookcases either. While these products are all practical aides, which allow the user to store and retrieve their belongings just a little bit higher, and so contribute to a more efficient use of storage space, they can also serve other secondary purposes.
The wooden sculptural ‘Elitra’ library ladder, designed by Giovanni Offredi for MC Selvini, exhibits such versatility, and can be used as complementary shelving as well. Kerstin Olby’s prosaically named ‘Step step stool’ is just that, and Gerhardt Kellermann’s ‘Aeki’ for Auerberg is a playful exercise in wooden construction and multifunctionality, as it can also be used as a small side table.
Some ladders assume the shape of steps, as seen in Kari Virtanen’s ‘TT2-3 Step ladder’ for Nikari; the ‘Trees’ library ladder, designed by Studio Parade for spectrum meubelen; or Petra Janssen-Kartsen’s and Michael Rösing’s ‘stool ladder’ for Radius Design.
A few designs can be folded away when not in use, including Marcello Ziliani’s ‘Flò’ and Andries van Onck’s steel tube and plastic ‘Nuovastep’, both for Magis, or Kerstin Olby’s wooden ‘Step up’. Another ingenious folding design is Morelato’s 1998 ‘Sedia Scala Zero’ library ladder, a solid, wooden chair which can be opened up into a series of steps.