Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

Freestanding bookshelves are some of the most useful pieces of furniture on the market. House your colorful book jackets in an orderly fashion simply or use their grand presence to break up expansive spaces as a room divider. So whether it’s asymmetrical, small shelving or a modular unit designed for an unorthodox space – our Top Ten list contains a bit of everything to beat your boring bookcase blues.

1. Babel

DESIGNER: Mario Mazzer
PRICE: $715 + VAT (515 Euro +VAT)
71"H x 20"W x 20"D

Babel is an asymmetrical five-shelf bookcase with a rounded profile. Made from polyethylene in a myriad of colors, the stand-alone bookshelf offers double-fronted usage for collectibles, reading materials, and anything else that merits a modern showcase. Surfaced like a tree trunk – and made for indoor or outdoor use – the playful, natural finish of Babel looks almost as if it is a miniature shrine to the forest.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

2. Delta

PRICE: $1446
76"H x 75"W x 12"D

For use as a freestanding bookcase, the Delta by Temahome uses sharp angles and horizontal lines to define its space. Open and airy, pull the Delta away from the traditional wall position of literature collections and place it in the middle of a large space to serve as both a bookshelf and room divider. Choose between a black or white model, and use its 24 shelves of varying sizes to hold all of your treasures.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves


PRICE: modular, priced to custom-size (as shown, $1442)
Modular (as shown, 74.75″H x 47″W x 15″D)

Let me guess…you love interesting bookcases, but you can't bring yourself to go for the leaning kind or an off-kilter look. Look no further than the modular SHILF shelf by Blu Dot. It's suited to your needs, with tall units for larger literature or vases or the perfect nooks for your novels. Made from steel in an ivory powder-coat finish, the simple look is matched with Blu Dot's simple assembly: no tools required.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

4. Bollicine Totem

DESIGNER: Romani Saccani Architetti Associati
PRICE: $3270 (matte lacquer); 3610 (American Walnut and Oak finish)
16″W x 16″D x 66.5″H

The Bollicine, meaning “bubbles in Italian”, stacks cubes atop one another like building blocks, with an opening on one side for the books to rest in.  A circular “window” is cut out on the side of each cube like a porthole, allowing for more light to flow in, and draw your eyes inside the structure. The tall, Totem bookcase was designed by an architecture firm, Romani Saccani Architetti Associati, who says they hope their products will “awaken your soul’s innermost passion” – which is most likely what happened when Linfa Design decided to feature the piece in their product line. If you’re looking for a quick fix, head over to get your Bollicine Totem at Property in New York City (where they’re currently having a bi-annual sale!).

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

5. Sudoku

DESIGNER: Mario Bellini
PRICE: $2900 (matte lacquer); $6200 (wood and aluminum)
77.5" H x 38"W x 10" D

Talk about 21st century trends and the game of Sudoku is a likely mention. Named after the number counting game that blew up in popularity, the Sudoku (and Sudoku Neroblanco) bookshelf by the Milanese architect, Mario Bellini, for Horm also keeps you sharp. Combining polar opposite colors, the shelf in black and white comes in either a wood and polished aluminum or a matte-lacquered MDF.  Use it to showcase colored book covers or keep it old-fashioned in a black/white ensemble and throw in some clear glass. Whatever you fancy, the Sudoku solves the puzzle.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

6. L'Arco della Pace

DESIGNER: Martino Gamper
PRICE: Available upon request
124"H x 87"W

Since bookshelves can house everything from non-fiction memoirs to whimisical fantasies, why can't their design contain the same range? Perhaps this is what Martino Gamper considered when he created the L'Arco della Pace bookcase for Nilufar's 2010 show. Recently featured on 3rings, the 10 unit-shelf is in the shape of a rainbow arc and finished in corresponding colors. Contrary to popular reaction, the off-balance structure only appears this way when in fact it is completely sound in poplar plywood, colorful veneer construction.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

7. Ventana Vista

PRICE: $1529
66″L x 64″H x 16″W

In art, the use of strong triangles are a great way to draw the audience in to a piece using three points. The Ventana Vista bookshelf by Maria Yee does exactly this using an upside-down version to maximize a bold statement. Available in three different wood finishes ranging from light to dark, theVentana Vista's can be used as a bookcase or to separate a room, similar to the Delta by Temahome.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

8. Steckbar

DESIGNER: Ismail Özalbayrak
PRICE: Available upon request

The bright design of Steckbar, a bookshelf made for easy assembly by an up-and-coming furniture designer in Germany, has caught the attention of many – including our very own Alicita Rodriguez here on the 3rings blog earlier this year. For now, it’s in the process of being manufactured, but deserves a shout out for its easy, stackable solution of up to four benches made from bended, welded, and powder-coated steel plates (similar to the material used in the SHILF by Blu Dot).

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

9. Edwardian Brass Bookshelf (No. 5365)

PRICE: $9147
55.75″W x 17.5″D x 37.75″H

Brassy and old-fashioned – modeled after English designs circa 1908 – the Edwardian brass bookshelf by Baker houses your antique book collections uniformly but can also add a bit of flavor to glossy, colorful series. Three macassar ebony veneer shelves have satinwood stringing inlaid and are framed in brass with a polished bronze finish. Although open and spacious, the ends of the shelves have functional X designs to maintain practicality while housing leaning books.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

10. Ivy

PRICE: $855+ (as shown, $1614)
Modular (as shown, 80″H x 35″W x 6″D)

Extend the Ivy as a tall bookshelf like a column, or combine it into a wide bookshelf that can serve as a room divider and feel the powerful presence of geometrical shapes in your home. In a polished white finish, the Ivy is clean and effective in modernizing any space – not to mention its ability to cast brilliant shadows across the room if placed near natural light.

Top Ten: Freestanding Bookshelves

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