Designing a Bar Height Reading Console for a Study Filled With Books
I have a design-conscious client who calls me up periodically with a new assignment to tackle. I love working with him — designing something that fits its function and is innovative can be extremely enjoyable. This time we are working on his study brimming with books. In addition to bookshelves, he requires a desk and a bar height reading console in the space.
Remarkably, he holds a very clear vision of how everything is going to take effect — it has to feel authentic and fit his lifestyle/workflow needs. He has a lot of specific ideas and his own sources. In his mind’s eye, he imagines everything, from a floor pattern to a lighting scheme. Judging by how much energy and thought he puts into every detail, I believe he is an artist at heart. I love our collaborations — finding middle ground between purpose and personal preferences.
For his study, he came up with a system of glass shelves that wrap around the space, floating. Literally. Suspended on inconspicuous brackets, they do not touch the walls behind them. It is my job to finalize the layout. The glass shelves will be custom-made by a company in Canada.
My client has a lot of ideas. As an advisor on the project, I needed to help him access and narrow down, streamline and simplify using the following criteria:
- Will he love it in a decade?
- Does it fit the overall scheme of the space?
- Does it lend authenticity to the space?
- Does it take away from functionality of the space?
Complete with a curated library, I’m predicting this study will make book lovers swoon.
In addition to four fabric-covered walls of floor-to-ceiling glass shelves and a work desk, the 215-square-foot study will boast a 2-feet-by-8 feet bar height (42” high) cabinet. We are calling it an “island.” It has to accommodate as much storage (a.k.a. filing drawers) as possible, have an electric conduit built in, house a printer/copier/scanner, which would be hidden from view but equipped with a hydraulic lift delivering it to the work surface when in use. In addition, there should be a place to dock two bar stools discretely.
The island’s main function is to serve as a console for reading/referring to the books in the collection; it needs to strike a balance between constrained and effortless.
This assignment has been keeping me up at night (in a good way). Designing furniture that performs many functions at once, yet appears to be very simple is my passion. Below, please see what I have come up with so far. The goal is to make this bar height console feel as if it is an integral part of the study. It’s work in progress. What do you think? Please leave a comment or write to me here.