The other day, I walked into an author’s home and right into an overwhelming floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall bookshelf, with a little ladder sheepishly reclining against the top-most shelf. Now that’s a lifetime of travelling, collecting and curating books. For those of us who share this love of books, making your own shelf might be an area of interest. Three people who’ve designed their own tell us how:
Neha Shah, founder of graphics company Karigari Design Inc., Mumbai, decided to use the ancient Chinese puzzle art, tangram, to make a bookcase. A set of seven geometric shapes, including triangles, squares, parallelograms, can be rearranged in several ways to create characters and shapes. “Our tangram shelf looks like a man walking. It’s a statement, a subtle reminder to keep walking,” says Shah. She created the sketch of the puzzle on paper and then sat over it with the carpenter. “The most important thing is the proportion. When you’re recreating it as a bookshelf, you have to keep in mind how much space you have, and how big or small each block should be,” she says.
Photo by Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Simplicity and accessibility were top-most in his mind when Zaheer Mirza, founder of advertising agency Doosra, Mumbai, designed the bookshelves in his home. “When I was looking for shelves, everything was too tedious; with doors, glass, feng shui and what not! So I decided to make my own. Two unfinished, un-sandpapered, wooden planks were painted black and polished, and then wall-mounted with old fashioned bed clamps, giving a rustic look to the shelf. “I’m the sort of person who reads four books at a time, and I mostly have reference, coffee-tables, non-fiction type of books. So an open, easily accessible rack, where you can just grab a book and plonk it back again, is the type of thing I wanted,” says Mirza.
Photo by Vineeta Nair
For those who like to keep changing things around the home, boxes and old crates are your best bet. Ashwiny Iyer, creative director at Leo Burnett, Mumbai, has a home which is a riot of colours. Iyer’s study has three different-sized, front-open, multicoloured boxes that make for mobile bookcases. “I didn’t want anything static. So I took old dabbas, fruit petis, or even drawers, refurbished them, painted and polished them, made them stand up and they worked as perfect bookcases that I can move around the house whenever I like,” says Iyer.
Photo by Ashwiny Iyer