Time for our annual check-in with Reinier de Jong (see complete list below). The Rotterdam-based designer's REK expandable bookcase design is amazing enough that since its 2008 launch, it's experienced multiple popularity booms on the interwebs. The only downside to the REK is that you need a good amount of free space to put it in; de Jong's latest, the MODULAR shelves, can also take up a lot of space, but give the user the option of building them up over time.
The MODULAR's building block is a single and simple rectangular unit, fitted with holes on two axes for dowels.
Placed parallel or perpendicular to each other, the units can be assembled into configurations of the user's choosing.
The idea of MODULAR shelves is based on gestalt principles. Gestalt is originally a German word meaning "essence or shape of an entity's complete form". Gestalt psychology states that the human eye sees objects in their entirety before perceiving their individual parts, suggesting that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. MODULAR shelves consist of uniform storage modules which can be grouped in various configurations.
MODULAR relates to gestalt in that the configuration creates additional storage space in between the modules making it physically and functionally greater than the sum of its parts. The edging of the modules generates a superimposed visual pattern of its own emphasizing the entirety of the configuration over the individual modules.
More Reinier de Jong projects from over the years:
2008: REK expandable bookcase
2009: KOPS chair
2010: VOLT table
2011: DEX desk
2012: REK coffee table
2013: STEEL folding chair