A shelf just 10 mm thick is capable of supporting 80 kg in weight, which equates to a 90 cm span of large books shelved without gaps. Since there are no L-shaped support brackets, only the 10 mm shelf-edge appears to protrude from the wall, creating a magical effect. This distinctively minimalist structure is achieved with a small T-shaped pin, which fits into a narrow track running vertically up the wall. Just three components—U-shaped tracks, pins, and shelves—create an infinitely expandable shelving system with a minimum of structural elements.
Holes are drilled in the tracks at 75 mm intervals, allowing shelves to be affixed freely at these points. Horizontal linking of shelves enables endless extension of a single thin-profile shelf without partitions. A choice of wall-mounted and floor- and ceiling-supported tracks enables these shelves to be positioned at will.
People often have vague ideas about how they want their shelves or their chairs to be. Perhaps it is the role of designers and engineers to give form to these ideas. People want chairs to be light, strong, comfortable, and attractive. They want light, simple shelf structures, where only the shelves themselves protrude from the wall. But people would be infuriated by shelves that merely exhibited delicacy and beauty while being fragile and insecure. Architects and designers are interested in structures and materials, and have long devoted great effort to reconciling the apparent conflict between strength and beauty. They have strived to defy gravity.
This shelving system originated in a chance meeting with SUS Corporation, a specialist manufacturer of production lines for aluminum extrusion. SUS approached us seeking new manufacturing challenges with extruded aluminum. Since I have long been interested in light shelving that would not flex or warp, I immediately wondered if they could make light extruded aluminum shelves. We were attracted by the notion of light shelving and tabletops that do not warp.
The engineers at SUS had no difficulty in creating a prototype for the shelving. I was excited to see the shape I had dreamed of appear before my eyes. With several further refinements, the shelves approached their final form. When I first saw them completed, I thought,
“I don’t want to put anything on these shelves.” Shelves generally exist in the background for the purposes of interior décor, storage, or display, but with the creation of this system, I understood for the first time how much they can enrich a space.
Sometimes we fit LED lighting into the surface or underside of the shelves, turning them from simple shelves into a kind of ambient wall lighting.
I still can’t make up my mind what to put on these shelves. Shelving reflects its owner’s lifestyle.
The creation of beautiful shelves prompted me to compile this product photo book, and I asked Tamotsu Fujii to do the photography and Kaoru Kasai to take charge of art direction. It is a collaborative effort by the three of us. Fujii-san told me the shelving brought to mind Moerenuma Park in Hokkaido, designed by Isamu Noguchi, when it is covered in snow. Kasai-san created beautiful designs for the ALEXIS (aluminum extrusion) logo and this book.
This beautiful shelving made us happy, and I am sure that it will enrich people’s lives.
厚さ10mmの棚板は、 1枚で最大80kgの重さに耐える。 80kgは1スパン90cmの棚板に、 隙間なく厚い本を並べた重さだ。 この棚板を支えるL字の支持金具はない。 だから壁から厚さ10mmの棚板だけが、 突き出たように見える。 マジカルな光景だ。 このミニマルな構造を実現させたのは小さなT字形のピンで、 このピンを細い柱の穴に差し込んで棚板を支える特別な構造だ。 コの字形の柱とピンと棚板、 このわずか3つのパーツ、 最小限の構成要素で無限の展開を持つシステムシェルフが生まれた。
柱には75mmピッチで穴が開き、 そのピッチに合わせて自由な位置に棚を取り付けることができる。 横に棚板を繋げていけば、 仕切りのない1枚の薄い板を無限に延長していくことができる。 壁取付けタイプと床天井突張タイプの柱があり、 思った場所にこの棚を設置することができる。
この棚が完成したとき、 とっさに 「何も置きたくないな」 と思った。
棚という、 インテリアや収納やディスプレーの裏方的存在がいかに空間を豊かなものにするか、 実現して初めてわかった。 この棚の上に何を置こうかと未だに迷う。 棚にはその人の生き様が表れる。
Alexis Shelf は人の生活に豊かさを与えてくれるに違いない。