Floating shelves

At this year’s Salone del Mobile, one piece of furniture stood out for its aesthetic recognisability. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the design is from the offices of Zaha Hadid. The curvy forms resemble a number of her larger, architectural projects.

More interesting is the materialisation of the furniture. The shelving unit is hewn from a single block of Italian granite. The extravagance can be understood as a way to transform our perception of stone – heavy, block, immobile – towards a sculptural, floating ideal.

The idea is to make the stone look as weightless and free as possible. By carefully carving out long fingers of thin stone into shelves, and cantilevering these shelves around a supporting lattice-work core, the furniture looks like a balancing act set in stone.

Called the Tela shelving, the design is for CITCO, an Italian design and manufacturing firm of natural stone products. The shelves do stand out for their elegance. Four cantilevered shelves seem to float above four sturdy black granite feet.

Each level is made to look like an undulating landscape because the flat shelves seamlessly descend into the slanted, folding connectors. This increases the visual effect of the curved furniture.

While the organic form may be a tricky shape to carve, this work may lead the way for other stone manufacturers to follow. We can only hope so: there is continual innovation in the stone industry that has led to interesting materials such as this Zebra Stone or the Lava Stone.


Photographs via Jacopo Spilimbergo.

Information via Zaha Hadid.


  1. Jivko Tashkov says:

    Zebra Stone material sounds very advantageous.

  2. Kisha Clarke says:

    Excellent stuff – I want these