Johan Van Hengel, the designer of Muuto’s Folded shelf collection, found his inspiration for the layered shelves in the play of shadows and possibilities of bent metal. Van Hengel sees the Folded shelves as a continuation to the Scandinavian design tradition, as their focus is in the union of material, function and simplicity.
MANUFACTURED BY THE DANISH MUUTO, Folded is a multi-nuanced collection of wall-mounted metal shelves named after their folded structure. The folds not only support the items placed on the shelves and divide them into their own compartments but also give the shelves an interesting three-dimensional form.
“I’d wanted to do something with shelving design furniture for a while – I always thought that there was something missing in that area. I saw a painting one day that had multiple shadows and layers atop of one another, inspiring me for the design of Folded. I sketched it up, and that drawing was almost identical to how the design turned out in the end”, Johan Van Hengel explains.
The goal of the Dutch designer was to create a family of shelves whose visual and functional form would find its place in many different environments. The Folded shelves offer storage for toothbrushes and towels in the bathroom, spices and storage jars in the kitchen, as well as pens and papers in the office. To ensure its multi-functionality, Van Hengel designed the collection in three different sizes and in several fresh shades and equipped the shelves with removable hanging hooks.
To ensure multifunctionality, Johan Van Hengel designed the shelving collection in three different sizes and in several fresh shades.
The folded structure of the shelves encourages free arrangement of objects along with aesthetic playfulness – neatness and order may come as by-products.
“I’m quite a chaotic person myself and I wanted to design something that through aesthetics prompted me to keep things tidy and organized, simply because it looks nicer that way”, Van Hengel summarizes.
Together with the objects placed on the shelves, the design language of bent metal creates an interactive ensemble, which changes a little with every object. The graphic appearance of the shelves pleases the designer also when the shelves are empty.
“I think the most unique aspect of the Folded Shelves is how the multiple layers within the design changes as objects are placed on it. Also, when the shelves are placed naked with nothing on them, they bring something sculptural, refined and simple to the room though they aren’t serving a functional use at the time.”
When the shelves are placed naked with nothing on them, they bring something sculptural, refined and simple to the room.
Who: Johan Van Hengel
• A Dutch designer living in Rotterdam
• Background in industrial design, has previously worked with consumer electronics and furniture design
• Studio Johan van Hengel, founded in 2013, focuses on furniture, lighting, and living accessories
• Attempts to create functional products which combine simple forms with unique and surprising elements
• Has designed products for brands such as Muuto, Hay, De Vorm and Montis
Text: Nora Uotila Images: Muuto