2010 Design Inside the Box: Sweet Nothing Shelf

The asymmetrical shelf from heartbreakers’ lover line is concealing, revealing and so appealing.

At first glance, the wall shelf by Carla Gusek and Wilson Loh looks pretty simple.

But the longer you spend with it, the more its subtle complexities begin to show. The creative duo of Heartbreakers Design Studio used cuts and folds to give their all-white aluminum shelf an almost maze-like appearance. It can be mounted to the wall in a variety of ways, even upside down, and interlocked with multiple shelves.

“It isn’t just a bookshelf – it’s a sculpture, as well,” says Gusek. “People should play around with how they orient it. There’s no real right side up.”

With its clean and free form, Sweet Nothing looks like one seamless piece, but it’s actually multiple pieces welded together. It is one of 14 pieces in Loh’s and Gusek’s first furniture line, Lover, which follows a philosophy of “embedding emotion into objects” and creating practical items with longevity.

“Whispering sweet nothings into your lover’s ear – sometimes those are concealed thoughts and sometimes they’re revealed ones,” says Gusek, explaining the name of the shelf, which simultaneously conceals and reveals. There are compartments that can hide books and magazines, while other surfaces and ledges are meant to display precious trinkets and flowers.

The glossy shelf represents the interplay between the sensibilities of both designers. Loh is more of the minimalist, while Gusek favours organic design in terms of texture, patterns and repetition.

Their contemporary furniture designs focus on function, and Gusek says the intention is to have the objects evolve with the owner over time.

“It’s about creating ordinary objects, but in a different combination or something you haven’t seen before,” she says.

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