The shift to digital books has had an unintended consequence: It has made analogue bibliophiles more ardent defenders – and often more ardent displayers – of their books. Your tablet will never look as good as my stack of first editions, you can practically hear them say. It’s for these book lovers that Rotterdam-based designer Reinier de Jong has created the Rek bookcase.
First created for a private customer in 2008, the bookcase, which has recently been updated to be lighter and more sustainably built, features a zigzag pattern with shelves that can slide in and out as your collection grows, or simply changed around to store books in different ways. The customer didn’t actually have many books, de Jong says. He wanted to create something that could grow to accommodate new books as time went on.
“It changes the way people look at books, and I think books are increasingly becoming objects that represent one’s identity, rather than just functional carriers of information. People really want to show off their books,” he says.
The Rek bookcase – the name comes from the Dutch word that means both rack and stretch – has a maximum size of 202 by 228 by 36 centimetres. It features a recycled high-pressure laminate finish and weighs 80 kilograms. It comes in white, light grey, medium grey and dark grey, but other colours are available on request, and costs $7,400.
De Jong has recently created a Rek coffee table as something of a “spinoff” that can also expand. As a companion piece, it only makes sense. When you take those gorgeous coffee-table books off the shelf, you’re going to need somewhere to put them.