String© shelves alternative

You all know the String shelving system, I think, designed in 1949 by Swedish architect Nils Strinning. You can find them in different colors, starting around 150€ for the String Pocket. Yes, that is expensive for a shelving system made of laquered steel and MDF, but for a designer piece and must-have for 60 years, not so much I guess. If you’re not willing to spend so much money, I have a few alternatives for you.

Start by asking your relatives if they don’t have a similar shelving system, that they might have forgot somewhere in the basement or attic after moving it from kitchen to bathroom to garage years after years. That’s how I found mine.
My step-mother was about to throw it and I asked to keep it for my apartment. She had it when she was a teenager, in her bedroom. She kept it since then, in her different homes, and when she got bored of its original black color she painted it white. These shelves have been lately spotted in the toilets… They are now in a good place in my bedroom, styled with some plants and yellow accessories. (I have a third shelf available but I didn’t feel like using it for now.)

Another alternative can be found using the IKEA Ekby Gällö wall side unit, designed by Jon Karlsson. They are available in 19 or 29cm depth, for less than 20€. Just add some wood planks bought at your local hardware store and you’re good. If you are not in the mood to pay a visit to the store, IKEA also provides a combined version of Ekby Gällö and Ekby Järpen, birch veneer shelves, for 78€.

Less similar but offering a design touch to your interior, are the Botkyrka wall shelves, again by IKEA, released in February. Made of powder-coated steel, they are available in white, dark grey and yellow and cost only 25€. They are great for both storage and display, in your kitchen or office. Their clean and minimalistic look put them in line with the current trend of Scandinavian simplicity, functionality and minimalism.



Botkyrka is actually (more than) inspired by the VIPP shelves (small version: €149, large version: €249). The VIPP has a rubber mat and visible decorative screws.

RAW Design blog Vipp shelf (1)

For your information, if you live in the USA the IKEA Ekby Gällö + Järpen are only 44$, around 32€, and if you live in China, I hate you (just kidding), it will only costs you 285 yen, around 2€.
I still wonder how such a big difference is possible, even considering a lower price of wood products in USA and lower living standards and labour costs in China.

Pictures from:

A post by Lise.


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