The String shelving system

One of the things I'd like to introduce on Design Hunter this year is a focus on a different theme or issue each month. Since the new year is a time when many of us resolve to de-clutter and become more organised this month I'll be running a few posts focusing on storage and shelving.

The original String component shelving system (above) was designed by Swedish architect and designer Nils Strinning in 1949 for a design competition initiated by the Bonnier public library. Recognising that if people were to be encouraged to purchase books they would need somewhere to keep them, the Bonnier publishing house stipulated that the designs submitted should be affordable, simple to transport and easy to assemble and hang. Strinning's String system won first prize.

More than 60 years on his economical and unpretentious design, combining functionality with aesthetics and attention to proportion and detail, is enduringly popular today.

The system's distinctive ladder sides keep books in place while at the same time ensuring that the structure is both light and stable. It's versatile too - each component can easily repositioned and combined with others in an almost endless number of permutations and it works just as well in the kitchen or bathroom as it does in an office or lounge.

String Plex

In the String Plex design, the wire frame is replaced with perspex, lending the shelf a lightweight floating character.

The range is now made by String Furniture. The company was founded in 2005 by Peter Erlandsson and Pär Josefsson who, recognising the purity and timelessness of Strinning's designs, wanted to revive and maintain the cultural heritage he left behind. They also produce the String Cell shelving system by Peter Cohen, in which wafer-thin shelves are supported by strings of metal pearls.

String Cell

A list of UK stockists can be found here.