During 2011, I entered an internation design competition, Extreme Redesign, aimed at university students. The BookSphere was my entry, for which I was placed as a top 10 finalist for the category.
The following is the accompanying text that was submitted for the competition;
The problem with traditional children’s bookcases is that they are mundane, purely functional and present the books in a linear plane. Consequently, they are typically arranged around the edge of rooms and form the background rather than the focus of children's activities. The BookSphere aims to revolutionise the relationship between the children and books and extends the functional need for shelving and make selecting books an engaging and interactive activity.
The BookSphere is ideal for children's public libraries or schools. The form of the BookSphere, of a sphere with one flat face, allows versatile placement of the the unit: either free-standing and providing the focus in an area with the flat side providing a surface for presenting
information; or the flat surface can next to other furniture, this allows the BookSphere to be arranged against the end of a desk or enables two units to be placed back-to-back. Presenting the books on circular shelves breaks the linearity of traditional shelving and increases the focus on the books in the partition directly in front of the child and de- emphasising those in adjacent slots because their spines are angled away. The shelves rotate so a child can move their attention between individual collections of books and as part of the shelves are always hidden (behind the flat surface) there is always an element of anticipation or surprise.
I plan to manufacture the BookSphere from a sleek, hard-wearing material, such as ABS, which will allow the organic shape to be produced cost-effectively. ABS will make the unit rugged enough for the intended locations and will also enable the units to be coloured.
Placing contrasting coloured units back-to-back would add visual variety and allow children to use the colours as a key to identify a particular subset of books. The height of the shelving will be customisable, so a BookSphere can hold large format books, often used by younger children. For safety, a rotary damper will prevent children from rotating the shelves too quickly.
I believe that the BookSphere offers many advantages over traditional book display methods and will enable books to re-establish a central position in the environment of young people.
Below are some images of the CAD drawing, 3D renders produced within Blender and the 3D printed model provided as a prize for becoming a finalist.