Although larger, freestanding shelves have a higher capacity, and can often serve as an effective room divider, wall shelves remain popular for offering smaller-scale, practical solutions, or even as small works of art on their own.
Alvar Aalto’s ‘Wall Shelf 112A’ and ‘Wall Shelf 112B’ belong to the former category: simple, understated and functional, they also possess a certain warmth because of their birchwood construction. ON&ON’s ‘Made to Measure Shelving’ is a larger, modular system that can stretch up to 4.8 metres and combines recycled aluminium and wood with a wide range of colours and finishes.
MORGEN’s ‘H. Store’, designed by Sabine Mühlbauer and Thomas Tritsch is an austere wall shelf with sliding doors, making it ideal for concealing its contents, as well as creating small display on its top. Donato D'Urbino’s and Paolo Lomazzi’s ‘Chicane’ for Tonelli is a jagged, glass zig-zag, supported by two steel rods.
Idelfonso Colombo’s Aico-manufactured ‘Skyline’ is an altogether more playful design. Here, the usually straight wall shelf takes the shape of a fictional city’s a skyline. Andreas Janson’s ‘JO 21’ wall shelf is a more abstract, but no less playful, design owing to its asymmetry and playfully stacked central console which connects the three shelves.
Gabriele Centazzo’s ‘Fagus Wall’ for AL2698 takes its inspiration from a tree, with ‘branches’ serving as shelves and the ‘trunk’ offering central support. There is also a freestanding variant for those who wish to plant a forest in their home. Another wall shelf that draws inspiration from nature is Bette Eklund’s ‘Deer’, manufactured by BEdesign. Taking the shape of a deer’s head, complete with antlers, this wall shelf can store small items and books, but looks just as decorative on its own, whether mounted on a wall, or standing on a sideboard, or indeed, another wall shelf.