As manufacturers Interlübke say of the Reef Storage System—conceived of and designed by Eva Paster and Michael Geldmacher of Neuland—its innovative contours call on the metaphorist in all of us: “Some see in it the skyline of a modern metropolis. Others are reminded of the multifaceted contours of a coral reef. And then there are those who simply regard reef as an artful sculpture which also holds everything…” The manufacturer goes on to Extol the system as an alternative to traditional wall units, which customarily aspire towards camouflage, as if trying to make us forget that they house items that matter to us.
An Aesthetically Assertive Storage System
Reef, to the contrary, is proud to occupy this symbolic center stage in our lives. The system—a cornucopia of compatible yet differently-sized modules with customizable interiors—eschews the flat fronts and soft closures of most storage systems for a fully realized trio of dimensions that provokes those previous metaphors. The ensemble does indeed recall the spatial varieties of a cityscape, as well as the teeming topography of a Cubist’s coral reef. It also evokes the sublime futuristic mise en scene of visionaries from Stanley Kubrick to George Lucas, who parlayed the inscrutable intricacies of the computer chip into a vast constructed landscape.
Reef is unorthodox and appealing. It creates the kinds of textural contours that inspire tactile interaction. Just so, the insides of Reef’s various compartments beg to be touched. Options include luxurious outfitting in a multitude of textiles not limited to Kvadrat’s wonderful wool felt. But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Interlübke proposes a “neutral element” as the starting point for a Reef unit: “the basis of the configuration with a depth of 63 cm. Beginning here, further elements are added to the right or left. And the new creation would not be interlübke furniture if it did not function as a small solution (1.60 m wide) or as an endless variant.” As stated, modules go to the left or the right, above or below, and, depending on their depth, they can protrude or recede, the latter creating the intriguing niches and ledges that are Reef’s aesthetic hallmark.
The system provides a solution for all manner of storage needs: from bedroom wardrobes to kitchen cupboards, bathroom cabinets to the cavernous depths of the office. As to the color, Neuland likes white for “the play of light and shade on the elements,” but they also suggest that virtually anything is possible. The designer further adds that prospective inhabitants of Reef’s manifold compartments might include “clothing, jewelry, books, or porcelain… an entire microcosm needs to be housed, ordered or admired in the spatial structure.”