Though perhaps not instantly associated with the image of home, library ladders can still serve a modest function in a domestic setting. Not confined to a library either, they can serve to access that one high shelf, be used as an occasional stool or side table, and even help children become more independent around the house.
The wooden sculptural ‘Elitra’ library ladder, designed by Giovanni Offredi for MC Selvini, also 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.
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’ libary ladder, a solid, wooden chair which can be opened up into a series of steps.