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12 Shelves

29 November 2018 - 19 January 2019

In its mission to show experimental or new design, The Aram Gallery has dedicated past exhibitions to a single material (such as cardboard in Kraft Work, 2014), and a single process (such as 3D-printing in Send to Print, 2012).


For the first time, we looked at a single furniture typology in the exhibition 12 Shelves. The show presented various shelving projects where designers have approached the same function through different materials, techniques and concepts.


A shelf, rather than a chair or table, is interesting to study as it has a unique set of requirements within furniture design. It is usually the background or means of supporting what it displays, rather than a piece to look at in itself. An empty shelf is incomplete, and requires the user to finish composing what the designer has started. A freestanding shelf is a structure in miniature, with decisions to be made about connections, load and stability. A wall-mounted shelf is a cantilever, and also an exercise in proportion and balance.


Although 12 Shelves focussed on a single typology, the exhibition was not intended as an exhaustive survey. The exhibits were all designed or prototyped in the preceding five years and showed new directions for thinking about shelving and storage.

Participating designers: Adam Blencowe and Thor ter Kulve, Bram Kerkhofs, Charlie Crowther-Smith, Dimitri Bahler, Katrin Greiling, Martijn Rigters, Matteo Pacella and Philippine Hamen, Mentsen, Odd Matter, Pesi Studio, Sammi Cherryman, and Silo Studio.

Photos: Agnese Sanvito

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