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It's Nice That : Bookshelf

Ever wondered what’s on the bookshelf of some of your favourite creatives? What books they turn to in need of inspiration or reference? Whether they’re a messy Mary or a tidy Tina? Well look no further, because every week we invite someone from the creative industries to share with us not only a rundown of their favourite five books in the whole ruddy world, but also a real-life picture of the shelf on which these esteemed titles live.

Great Bookshelf Photos


IKEA Redesigns Classic Bookshelf, Foreshadows the Demise of Books - TIME NewsFeed

Getty Images

Getty Images

Citing a changing climate in the reading world, the furniture authorities are putting a new spin on the old bookshelf – redesigning it to store anything but books.

The storage mavens at IKEA have noticed a shift in what consumers are storing in their bookshelves. After all, a Kindle can hold thousands more books than a wooden tower in the living room. According to The Economist, IKEA will release a new version of its classic BILLY bookshelf next month, one that's focused less on storing books than storing, well, anything and everything else. The company is finding that customers use their shelves increasingly for “ornaments, tchotchkes and the odd coffee-table tome,” and less so for reading material.

Nick Carbone is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @nickcarbone. You can also continue the discussion on TIME's Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

READ: How IKEA Survived a Bad Economy


The Golden Shelf has a FB Page

Well it was only a mater of time before The Golden Shelf found it's way to Facebook.  Feel free to post an image of your Golden Shelf or Object.



Yesterday we delivered the last of the 3 BILLY projects from "Unpacking the Flatpack".  We showed up an hour late due to traffic but when has furniture ever been delivered on time.  Johan, Per, Georgia, Ruby and I were the moving crew.   Isabel answered our listing on Blocket for a "FREE BILLY" with mandatory delivery, installation and conversation.


The golden shelf discovery!- Science Forums Broadcasting | Radio Sweden

Johan and I bring our Lil Billy back to IKEA to talk with Urban Björstadius from Sverige Radio about our project.


FREE Billy on Blocket

Golden Shelf Discovered in Stockholm


A correlation between the 4th shelf in IKEA’s Billy Bookshelf and the Golden Section used in art, architecture, and book design for centuries has been discovered. The researchers call their discovery the Golden Shelf.


Bookshelf Blog

Here is a link to another blog concerned with bookshelves more generally:


Dress Up @ UVP

My project "Dress Up" is playing this month as part of the Urban Video Project on the Everson Museum in Syracuse NY.



Things Organized Neatly


Lil' Billy Mobile Research Lab' flatpack lil' brother makes it on "Things Organized Neatly" thanks for the heads up Christine!


A Culture's History Written in Thread


They've been kicking the Patches for a whole long time.


Lil' BILLY rides the T-bana

Today I took Lil' BILLY out for a test run. He rode the T-bana to Zinkensdamm and then rolled with me to Iaspis to have tea with Jonatan Engqvist. We talked about the BILLY project and the artists and researchers that Johan and I brought in for the course. I left without taking a single photograph which is odd since i've been photographing everything including my food all trip long. I also had to return my Key to UGLYCUTE today. Well here are some travel shots of Lil' Billy riding the T-Bana to Slussen.


"producing a solid cast of where the space within a
container would be..." - Rachel Whiteread - Untitled bookcase

Las Vegas Studio

I accidentally found a text :Hilar Stadler and Martino Stierli, eds., Las Vegas Studio Images from the Archives of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown - haven't read it yet but it seems to be a reaction to Learning from Las Vegas book (rereading and manipulating photos). Not sure if its useful.

If interested, you can download it here:


Temple Grandin

The work of Temple Grandin as referenced in my Virgins guide to Ikea. Temple's revolutionary insights have changed the way cattle are handled at meat factories, farms and marts. Reducing stress on animals the designs induce docility and hence the pliability of animals. Similiarity with the Kungens Kurva store are notable - especially in the movement to single file chutes from wide lanes. Her work can be explored further on the always excellent www.ted.com and and also in a recent movie starring Claire Danes.

Tools of Tradecraft: More Spy Gear From the CIA, Others | Threat Level

More kits from the CIA and KGB, via wired.com


A Virgins Guide to Ikea

A Virgins Guide to Ikea

As an impoverished wannabe spartan eschewing the odious collection of 'stuff' and with an 'ah sure this will do' attitude Ikea has never entered high on list of priorities, never made it to a mid-life bucket list and the Ikea evangelists entreaties have largely fallen on deaf ears, blinkered eyes, upturned nose and perhaps more importantly hands pulled out of empty pockets a la Charlie Chaplin in tramp mode. This assignment had changed that. I had John and Johan's money for a start. Accompanying me was Sille, a Danish native, very accustomed to the the way of Ikea and if I were to continue my 'virgin' simile I would have to call her a very bad name indeed.


Personal bookcase inventory

After completing our group project, I feel that I am ready to deal with my own bookcases...

The truth is: I don't live with Billy but I live with books, a lot of them. In my room, there are two bookshelves: one is for work (anthropology-related literature), the other is for pleasure. I decide to talk about my bookshelf for pleasure.

How Top Chefs Fly with Their Knives : The New Yorker

Here is an article about a custom bag/kit for chefs to transport their Knives.


#2 interview- "The curve of smile"

I found my second interviewee on their blog through the internet while I was searching for the picture of Billy bookshelf. Their story immediately caught my eye, after contacted with her and got some more information about their bookshelf, I decided to write about their tricky negotiation with Ikea as my assignment.
p.s. All the pictures and videos are cited from their blog.


Oda's Billy

This Billy is located in an apartement in Kungsholmen, where my Norwegian friend Oda lives. This low-slung Billy has two, quite separate, uses. On top, it is decorative and presentational, while the interior more has the character of storage. The intention was for all three doors to be in glass, but since IKEA only had two glass doors at the time of purchase one became a solid one.


Group Project


Spatializing and Personalizing Billy


The project sets out to use the Billy Bookcase as a site where interactions between the space and the individual are played out. In other words, we would like use this project to illustrate what the space does to the individual as well as what the individual does to the space.

Project members

Annika, Darcy, Dasha, Som and Yi-Ying

Description of the project

Our idea is to imagine the Billy bookcase both as a space and as a person. What we will do is to create three distinctive layers out of two Billy bookcases. The middle layer will symbolize the private sphere whereas the remaining two layers the public sphere. In order to demonstrate the fluidity of the boundary between the private and the public, we want to take away the back of the bookcases so there is no distinction between the front and the back. We would also like to mobilize the bookcases by adding wheels to them so each layer can be moved by the viewer. Furthermore, the boundary between the private and the public is further challenged by complicating the middle layer. What we want to do is to use cellophane to further divide the middle layer into two halves. The quality of cellophane can create a sense of ambiguity where the viewer can only vaguely see the objects behind the cellophane.

We have not decided on the content of this project, that is, “things” we will put in the bookcases. We have agreed that the content will be determined by the material we have collected through our interviews with Billy owners. We are thinking about including both tangible and intangible things (audio, visual or smell etc.)

Materials required

Two Billy bookcases, wheels, hinges, handles and cellophane.

33 Pitstops Towards the Uncanny Valley



Storage, Interaction and Dance at IKEA

Some inspiration from an event in the storage area at the northernmost IKEA Sweden, located in Haparanda.

It's called Post-Wedding Depression, and is a performance with and by my friends in the Stockholm-based dancing troupe Johanssons Pelargoner och Dans.


they saw me coming

These were two Ikea purchases I made beyond and above the call of duty. The lint roller I am very happy with. How did I live without it? Takes away that tramp look in seconds. The frame has of yet to find a tenant and was purchased in true Ikea style because it was so god damn cheap. I had the fear that I may somehow never set foot in Ikea again even though I knew we were returning in a week. Irrational perhaps but still glad I bought it. 

A Room Full of Stories

After a couple of failed attempts in finding someone I do not know with a Billy bookcase, I have to admit that I started to feel a bit hesitated. However, after some deeper digging I did find a family with a whole room filled with great stories and 6 Billy bookcases. The feeling I had was comparable to winning the lottery!


Interview #2

I am really a "Billy Person" For the second interview, I added out an appeal at Facebook and put up a notice in the student house where I live. I got some tips but they all lived outside Stockholm. One from my highschool got in touch- we have not met in six years. I had the opportunity to meet his mother I met Anna-Lisa Saturday afternoon. Anna-Lisa is 59 years old and live in apartment south of Stockholm. She works as a socialworker and lives with her two cats. Anna-Lisa is orginally from Finland with an american mother. There are also two adults sons in the family, who have moved out.

Billy is Timeless

Tomek, late twenties, is now working as a IT consultant. I found him through a friend. He lives alone in this apartment. This apartment was built in the 1930s; the windows and the floors are preserved as it were original built. Tomek chose this particular apartment for its location and its environment nearby; it's close to the city, metro station and it's quiet.

Interview #2

My second interview was performed on a friend living in Montreal and I did a Skype interview with her. First she took some photos of her Billy and sent them to me then we started the talk.

Couple’s Billy

What I find very interesting about the Billy bookcase from David and Kristin almost didn’t come up during the interview. When I asked if they had any difficulties putting it together they first answered: “Not really”. Kristin then looked at David chuckling and adding: “Well, we had a problem when we moved and were putting it together for the second time. Should I tell?” – “Well it is kind of embarrassing for me,” said David.

The Interventionist's Toolkit: Posters, Pamphlets and Guides

"Begun in December 2010, H.D.O. was founded by writer Rob Walker, photographer Ellen Susan and New Orleans’ publisher/gadfly G.K. Darby. The trio commissions, prints and posts fantasy signage not only as a means of provoking interest in abandoned sites around New Orleans, but also as a way to generate an alternative narrative for the city. They draw on the active imaginations of architects, designers and artists, giving them free reign to rework the existing buildings on paper."
via places.designobserver.com

Impressions of IKEA

Would be a shame if these pictures would languish at my harddrive, so here's some impressions from our (me, Parisa and Yi-Ying) trip to IKEA a couple of weeks ago!


'Billy' connects people! ( Second interview)

I want to start with a brief story how I found my second interviewee. When I knew that we need to find participants for our project- I e-mailed the whole school in an effort to find a volunteer. Konstfack approximately has more than a thousand of students. I got only one reply…
His name is Pavel Fiorentino ( and he is a first-year master student at Art in the Public Realm (Fine Arts department). And fortunately he turned to be my fellow citizen. He is living in Sollentuna , nice picturesque area almost out of Stockholm. Pavel sharing his apartment with his partner Ever, who is also a student in IT sciences. Pavel is incredibly interesting person with a great experience of traveling, working and studying (all listed above most of the time is blended in one). Our dialogue was in Russian.

Interview 2

This week our interviewee is Alexander, a 63 year old retired government worker from my home town of Toronto!

Memories on transit Billy

Ulrika Blom/ 28/ 'In Space' Master Student at Konstfack
"For me this bookshelf is more like a storage place, I inherited so many books from my dad. And I don't want to throw them away. So that's why it is important for me. It stores memories."
I found this girl when I asked my Interior friend, if he has any Billy Bookcase at home. Ulrika was sitting next to him, talking on their desing project. After I explained our Billy's mission to her. She voluntary excepted my interview on the next day without any question.

Carl Kleiner's videos

Ikea - Art of cooking - The drummer from Carl Kleiner on Vimeo.


Billy for Sale

I saw this ad. yesterday in Danderyds sjukhus so took a picture with iphone, sorry that it's not so clear.
This Billy bookcase is a bit shorter than the ones we bought, it's 80 x 192 x 28cm.

DIY IKEA coffin by joe scanlan


Artist Christine Hill sent me this!

Notes from today