The Book on Obsession – Design for a colourful life

rainbow books3We’ve been having some lengthy and colourful discussions about the meaning of the word Obsession. Some have argued that obsessions are primarily of negative influence; they are when things go too far. I, on the other hand believe that we all have the seeds of obsession within our human DNA. That obsession is within our nature, sometimes recessed, and other times not so much. As such, there’s nothing wrong with a little over enthusiastic pursuit of personal interest, in fact I think it makes for a more interesting personal brand.

I am also a book lover. There’s something physical about the feel of a good, solid book in your hand and the turning of pages between thumb and finger. Up until now I’ve felt slightly self conscious about my ever growing collection of books I couldn’t possibly part with, including a weary volume of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest’ from my school days. Up until now.

Recently returned from a trip through the land of Book Obsession I have a new perspective on book love. I have always thought the selection of books on a person’s book shelf was an intimately personal expression. I now have an appreciation of how a healthy book obsession can transcend content and category, and move into the aesthetic sphere.

Buckle-in for a brief tour of the colourful world of book obsession.

The rainbow bookshelf takes library organisation to the next level. The shelf below not only orders books by colour of their book jacket, but does so in the order of the colours of a rainbow. This approach is apparently quite popular as demonstrated by a Flickr photo pool called “The Rainbow of Books” in which people post photos of their colour book filing activities.

The Ex libris is a coffee table with book shelf built-in. Italian furniture designers MOCO launched the table at the Maison & Object in France, January 25-29, 2008.


London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, it is well known for it’s small homes and imaginative use of space. From these restrictions was borne the innovative library staircase, designed to house a large library, easily accessed whenever climbing or descending the stairs.


The Bookman, is an engaging, yet functional bookshelf designed by English artist Kazmierz Szmauz. The Bookman is available in three different postures, and while it takes-up more space than a traditional bookshelf who wouldn’t give-up a little wall-space for the extra personality?

book shelf

Japanese designer Sakura Adachi has created this bolt-hole for books and book lovers. The Cave is a bookshelf designed for those who love to retreat into their own world of reading. Avid readers will love retreating into this little library pod to be at one with their books.


My personal favourite is the Mobile Library Venezuelan style. Old school as they come, kids in rural villages in the foothills of the Andes have their library books delivered by four-legged mobile libraries. In Kenya, the Camel Library Service does the same job. Author Masha Hamilton has written a book about the Camel Library Service called “The Camel Bookmobile”.


The Nobody & Co. Bibliochaise chair is the latest version of the stay at home book shelf; with the right library and a phone to order home delivery pizza, you may never need to move.


Finally, for the book lover who likes to travel, this boutique hotel is located in the heart of New York City on Madison Avenue and 41st Street. The hotel is home to more than 6,000 books – including the largest collection of rare books in NYC. Each floor is named library style from Social Science, Language and Math to Science, Technology, etc.



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