Hanging Bookcase. Designed by Bao Haimo, Yu Renzhuo, Ma Hu, Yao Shuai, and Yu Meng.
A true group effort, this bookshelf is the creation of Bao Haimo, Yu Renzhuo, Ma Hu, Yao Shuai, and Yu Meng. That five designers could agree on anything seems amazing in and of itself; that they could agree on something so revolutionary in its simplicity and functionality is virtually unbelievable. Hanging Bookcase uses taut vertical and horizontal wires to hold books in place: "Each book envelopes a vertical wire (which positions it), with its base resting on a horizontal wire (which bears its weight). The space between the wires and books gives a high degree of transparency, and the bookcase itself is lightweight." The idea came from laundry drying on a rack, which also seems amazing--how does anyone get inspired by watching their clothes dry?
The atypical material allows for practicality. The titles are easy to see. The thickness of the spines are also easy to spot, so you can identify big tomes and little paperbacks easily when you're searching for a particular book. And the designers have thought of most eventualities: on the left side of Hanging Bookcase, the space between wires is 6 centimeters, while on the right, the spaces are four centimeters apart. If you think this bookshelf will come tumbling down, think again: "The wires are tightly strung to resist deformation, even when significant weight is applied. The size of the bookcase was determined by the scale and load-bearing strength of steel wire." Additionally, Hanging Bookcase addresses the specific needs of readers. By placing the book on the vertical wire, you can have the wire serve double duty as a bookmark. And the horizontal wires don't just hang there, managing the weight of your books; they also serve as ideal places to hang the bookcase's yellow book cards, which help you classify your library however you wish. The entire package has been thought through to such a degree that I would guess the designers are avid readers. For being so attractive (and unusual), Hanging Bookcase is surprisingly functional.