Sou Fujimoto creates ornate bookshelves for Basel installation

By Alice Morby

Architect Sou Fujimoto has designed a series of abstract bookshelves made from thin steel rods, which he based on 19th-century ironwork.

The Forest of Books installation, created in collaboration with Galerie Philippe Gravier, is currently on show at Design Miami/Basel.

Comprising five sculptural bookshelves, each created in editions of five, the installation is designed to evoke the feeling of a trip to a library.

“Libraries are, beyond time, an assembly of a different era, past and future. A combination of search ability and stroll ability,” said Fujimoto. “A trip, a non-linear journey, in a search of a story, an information, a discovery.”

“Five of them, floating in space. Like an interpretation of the readings, they are wanderings, slightly drifting away,” the Japanese architect added.

Each piece has been made from black steel rods, with silhouettes informed by 19th-century ironwork.

Some structures have benches curved around their insides – accessed through small openings and offering visitors a place to sit – while others have shelves on which books can be placed.

“[The structures are] a reinterpretation of an old technique, balustrades with soft curves recalling nature – different periods reconciled together,” said Fujimoto.

The architect established his studio in 2000 after graduating from Tokyo University. His best-known projects include the Final Wooden House made from chunky timber beams and the Tokyo Apartment that comprises four house-shaped residences stacked on top of each other.

He is also known for gridded and latticed architectural structures, like his 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, and also created an installation using only light for COS at Milan design week last year.

This year’s edition of Design Miami/Basel takes place from 13 to 18 June. Also on show is a range of limited-edition pieces designed by Studio Job for Gufram’s new collectible spin-off, and an installation of Swarovski crystal that has been 3D-printed, upcycled and turned into gadgets by emerging designers.

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