In its mission to show experimental or new design, The Aram Gallery has dedicated past exhibitions to a single material (such as cardboard in Kraft Work, 2014), and a single process (such as 3D-printing in Send to Print, 2012). For the first time, we are looking at a single furniture typology in the exhibition 12 Shelves. The show will present various shelving projects where designers have approached the same function through different materials, techniques and concepts.
A shelf, rather than a chair or table, is interesting to study as it has a unique set of requirements within furniture design. It is usually the background or means of supporting what it displays, rather than a piece to look at in itself. An empty shelf is incomplete, and requires the user to finish composing what the designer has started. A freestanding shelf is a structure in miniature, with decisions to be made about connections, load and stability. A wall-mounted shelf is a cantilever, and also an exercise in proportion and balance.
Although 12 Shelves focusses on a single typology, the exhibition is not intended as an exhaustive survey. The exhibits have all been designed or prototyped in the last five years and show new directions for thinking about shelving and storage.