Say hej to String System, a design icon from Sweden with (almost) no limits

The iconic String System shelf is the ideal piece of furniture for all spaces both in terms of form and function. Its refined components can be used to build exactly the kind of storage unit needed. The high-quality and durable shelves are still today manufactured in Sweden by String Furniture.

An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
String Furniture's shelves are exquisitely crafted design classics, beautiful down to the last refined detail.

“THE STRING SYSTEM has ingenious solutions that were developed by Kajsa and Nils Strinning, the original designers of the shelf. Thanks to them, the shelving system is extremely versatile,” says String Furniture CEO Jonas Wetterlöf.

Wetterlöf grabs a couple of shelf supports and shows how, thanks to a small bend, the metal brackets stay attached to panels, and shelves of the same height can be attached right next to each other. “This may seem like a small detail, but thanks to this design insight, the shelves can be seamlessly connected to each other and the String System can be expanded without limits.”

An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
The classic shelves, available in numerous shades, effortlessly complement all kinds of homes and lifestyles – adding not only functionality but also a touch of everyday elegance.
An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
The office and warehouse staff at String gather in the break room to enjoy a coffee break together. The white 66 chairs are from Artek.

String System shelves are suitable for all manner of spaces. The parts of the series can be used to transform the storage system into a bookshelf in the living room, a coat rack in the hallway, upper cabinets in the kitchen or, for instance, furniture for a patio (yes, galvanized metal shelves are suitable for outdoor use!). The shelving system practically begs you to come up with new ways to use it at home – or at the summer cottage, for example.

“Our customers have often bought one small shelf first, and then realized how convenient they are. Then when they move to a bigger apartment or have new storage needs at home, they buy more String,” continues Wetterlöf.

An image featuring the Nils Strinning.
Nils “Nisse” Strinning reading next to one of the early models of String shelf. Image: String Furniture

THE STRING STORY started in 1949, when the young architect couple Kajsa (1922–2017) and Nils (Nisse) Strinning (1917–2006) participated in a design competition organized by the book publisher Bonnier. The company was looking for an ideal shelf for Bonnier’s book club books. The couple won with their proposal – a system combining white-painted metal brackets and wooden shelves. The String shelving system was put into production the very next year, and for decades it was very popular in Sweden and abroad, especially in Germany.

The shelf system got a new lease of life by chance in 2004, when a customer who wanted to buy a new String shelf entered Ulrika Erlandsson’s interior design store at the Falsterbo Peninsula, southwest Sweden. When Ulrika and her husband Peter set about finding out how they could fulfill their customer’s wish, it turned out that the company that manufactured the shelves had just gone bankrupt. By the early 2000s, demand for the previously popular shelf had dwindled to almost nothing.

However, Peter and his business partner Pär Josefsson saw potential in the String shelves, and contacted the designer duo Nils and Kajsa Strinning. The four made an agreement to start production again. The renewed String shelving system was presented to the public the following year at the H05 design exhibition in Helsingborg.

Nisse Strinning fortunately lived long enough to see the renaissance of his creation.

“Spanning an entire wall, the shimmering white String shelf looked stunning, and the press and exhibition visitors fell in love with it. We got off to a good start. Next, we added components made of oak and walnut, which brought a more refined design look to the shelving system,” recalls Erlandsson.

Nisse Strinning, who passed away in 2006, fortunately lived long enough to see the renaissance of his creation. As his very last design work, he drew a small String Pocket shelf for the range. This quickly became a popular design item, especially among younger consumers.

“Unlike other shelves in the String series, we also manufacture the Pocket shelf in bold and trendy seasonal colors,” says Erlandsson.

An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
String's headquarters are located in an old industrial building, where the office and warehouse facilities coexist under one roof.
An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
The office boasts ample natural light and an industrial-inspired ambiance
An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
The open office is furnished with String Furniture's own Works series, created by designer Anna von Schewen and industrial designer Björn Dahlström.

OVER THE YEARS, the String System has developed and been supplemented with various handy additions, thanks to which it adapts even better to different spaces in the home. For example, hooks, rods, display cabinets, shoe shelves and other aids for organizing items can be added to the basic shelves.

But how did the company come up with the idea to expand the String shelving system into a storage system for all parts of the home?

“Actually, we should thank our inventive customers for that. We saw on social media how String shelves were being customized by their users for different purposes. That got us thinking about how we could serve our customers better and manufacture ready-made parts that would allow the shelves to be used better in different spaces. We set out to develop a shelving system for every room of the home with the designer couple Anna von Schewen and Björn Dahlström. They have brought their own esthetic expertise to the range,” Erlandsson says.

An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
Designed to grow and expand, the String Furniture shelves can also be complemented with convenient add-ons that enhance their form and functionality.
An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
String Furniture offers a variety of compact storage solutions for entryway spaces. The shelves can be enhanced with additional rods and hooks for hanging clothes, as well as metal racks for organizing shoes.
An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
You can create a customized shelving system that perfectly fits your needs – to add ease to the design process, you can utilize the 3D design tool available on the company's website.

When you buy a design icon, you know exactly what you're going to get. In addition to versatility, adaptability and effortless elegance, a key reason for the popularity of String shelves is simply quality. When buying a String shelf, you can be sure that the components fit together perfectly, the veneer is elegantly finished, and the coatings on the metal parts will last and last. So where are String items manufactured?

“The production of String shelves is carried out from start to finish in Sweden.”

“Our production is carried out from start to finish in Sweden. We have had excellent subcontractors since the beginning, and we work closely with them. This ensures that the quality of the items remains constant. Another advantage of local production is that the development of new products is easier and the production is more responsible from an ethical point of view. We are currently doing a very detailed investigation into the ethical aspects of the products. We are going through the entire process, from the mining of iron ore to energy consumption and the end product,” says Range Development Process Leader Ida Giselsson, who is responsible for production and responsibility at String Furniture.

An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
String Furniture's high-quality designs are manufactured in Sweden, with only a few exceptions. The company's warehouse and shipping facility are located in Malmö, alongside the headquarters.
An image featuring the String Furniture headquarters in Sweden.
When it comes to transportation and moving, the String Furniture shelves are a game-changer. Thanks to their modular design, they can be disassembled and reassembled, fitting into a compact space

IN ITS LATEST DESIGNS, String Furniture has moved even more from “wall to floor.” Along with the shelf system, the company has introduced many other new items, including the String Works office furniture range designed by Anna von Schewen and Björn Dahlström. The Pira G2 shelf system, launched in 2023, offers a new kind of storage system that is ideal for such purposes as creating a partition in the middle of a room. Another recent addition is TAF Studio’s Museum range, which originated from a wall shelf designed for the Nationalmuseum, Sweden’s museum of art and design. The range also includes a side table and a candlestick.

String Furniture’s products can therefore be seen nowadays in offices as well as homes. However, the much-loved classic shelf remains the core of the brand. Top quality, iconic design and adaptability – these are the three reasons why the String System is going strong.

String Furniture favorites

String chest with 2 drawers
String Pocket shelf
Museum side table
String cabinet
String side panel
String cabinet with swing door
String Works work desk
String folding table

See also:

Products by String Furniture >

Text: Anna-Kaisa Huusko Images: Niclas Mäkelä

Previous story
Next story

Sign up to Finnish Design Shop’s newsletter and enter a monthly gift card prize draw!

Sign up

For the love of design

Design Stories is Finnish Design Shop's own online magazine, that takes you to beautiful Nordic homes, introduces new products and beloved icons – and much more!

Go to the Design Stories front page

Shop Nordic design

Design Stories is provided by Finnish Design Shop, the world’s largest online store specialized in Nordic design.

Discover our selection

Buy & sell authentic vintage is a curated online marketplace for pre-owned design maintained by Finnish Design Shop.

Find treasures at Franckly