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Designing the Wall Shelf
In many ways, the wall shelf is a direct descendent of the desk shelf. We’d talked about designing a wall shelf for years—the catch-all, our entryway storage solution, actually started as a shelf concept. After launching the desk shelf, we brought the idea back out to see where it might lead.
We all have stuff, stuff that needs to be displayed and/or stored. We started by investigating the right sized zones for different needs, exploring what items would be ideally suited for display on a shelf.
Above: Lead Designer Sean Kelly’s sketch concepts exploring the bracket location and size relative to the shelf surface.

We riffed on the elements of the desk shelf, bringing together plywood, cork and metal. The cork in the bracket provides a natural book end, and delineates spaces on the shelf. We created ‘structural cork’ by incorporating a ⅛” thick aluminum bracket that cradles and strengthens the cork, allowing us to use the natural soft material in a structural way.
Above: A sketch concept showing the metal and cork components of the bracket and how they work together.

For the material of the main shelf, we started our explorations with plywood. The usual back bevel / chamfer that we use in our plywood (think of the sloping edge on the monitor stand or desk shelf) didn’t work on the wall shelf because your eye level would be below the shelf when mounted. Looking up at the bevel exaggerates the plywood and distorts the view. We went back and forth discussing the issue and finally decided on a flat edge for the shelf, which has a nice balance with the cork bracket shape.
Subtle Functions
With the bracket and the shelf material decided, we needed to figure out how to attach the bracket and the shelf. With our wall mounted products, we always aim for something that looks magically suspended—products that float cleanly on the wall with no visible fasteners. The cork and metal brackets of the wall shelf mount flush to the wall using the same mechanism as our wall hooks.
For the bracket/shelf interface, Ken Tomita, our CEO/Co-Founder, drew on his experience in furniture design to propose an extra strong (and extra invisible) joint: a normal joint (on the left) is much weaker than we wanted. The joint on the right provides remarkable strength, and a really clean look.
Using this joint allows us to incorporate a nice feature into the shelf—an easy way to drop cords of any size behind, even after mounting the brackets. A gentle cut out on the back gives you room to route a cord, for a lamp, or speaker, or baby monitor—whatever you need. And sliding the shelf on and off the brackets is straightforward, so you can pass cords with large plugs without issue.
The wall shelf took us about three months to develop. It drew heavily on past products, but was also a great chance for us to design a product that is a bridge between the office and the home. It’s a modern wood shelf that’s designed to display what’s most important.
Better Together
Shop the bundle for a convenient shelving solution that gives you room to improvise.
Shop for Home
The wall shelf is one part of our collection of products for your home—they’re all designed to bring clean lines and unique accents to your living space.

Further Reading

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