Playful Furniture Inviting You to Fill in the Voids

You may or may not have heard of Stockholm designers Erik Olovsson and Kyuhyung Cho. They have created what is being called the Room system “playful” furniture, which can fill up a space or a wall in any room. In its simplest description what they have produced is a set of stackable wooden blocks, and then added different shaped holes to make up an eye-catching flexible shelving unit, ideally suited to displaying various items of various shapes, sizes and colours.
With the Room system, Olovsson and Cho wanted to challenge the assumption that objects should always be displayed within a rectangular space. So forget boring old shelf units and the like. Their system is a modular one of 25 stackable blocks, a low table and a mirror space. Each block has a geometric space, or “void” which you can fill with whatever you deem suitable- books, a vase, bottles, a plant, whatever takes your fancy. This is a bold and unconventional leap away from traditional shelving and storage units. By having different shaped void areas within each block, you have the opportunity to enhance the void shape by inserting a similar shaped objet d’art, or challenge it by putting something in where the shape contrasts to the void. Neat. It means that not only can the Room system be assembled in different ways, the objects it will house are down to you, and therefore no two will ever look the same. As one of the designers said:
“Our intention is also to let people to explore their own composition with just a few pieces or the whole set as a shelf, which maximises flexibility of the relationship between object and space.”
That’s not to say that the blocks’ voids were not designed with something in mind. Some look ideal for wine storage, the zig-zag one to hold mobile phones on their sides, and the peaked one for an open book. But rules are made for breaking and you will quickly find objects that cause you to smile as you fill in the void in a way not intended.
The modular system not only allows you to combine the blocks in any sequence, it means you can have the blocks assembled as a long, low, affair, perhaps good for a passage or hall, or as a thin tall open storage cabinet.
The wood of the blocks is matte-lacquered plywood. Why? Olovsson explained thus:
“Although the mix-and-match system is flexible, the form and structure is strict, “We wanted to add warmth and softness with the natural pattern of wood. A matte-lacquer finish is less affected by reflection and allows the wood grain and the form to present in a gentle way.”
What I particularly like is the way you assemble the Room system is a million miles away from the tradition flat-pack assembly where there’s only one way to put the thing together. You actually feel as though you are composing something artistic/architectural as you choose which block goes next to which block. Wooden Lego for grown-ups with a sense of fun? Sure!