Josef Albers’s White Oak Bookshelf

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Product: Josef Albers’s White Oak Bookshelf
Retailer: Artware Editions
Designer: Josef Albers
  • Bookshelf, designed 1923
  • solid white oak
  • 55 h. x 55 w. x 13.8 d. inches

Josef Albers (1888-1976) designed this bookshelf as a magazine stand for his Bauhaus fellow faculty member Walter Gropius in 1923. As part of a set of furniture for the waiting room of Gropius’s new architectural firm, this piece was likely conceived to help convey Bauhaus ideals: elemental form, intersecting planes, clean geometry and unambigious lightness and darkness. Here Albers makes use of the square (55″), on which he bases shelf width and length, and divides the whole into equal vertical and horizontal segments, resulting in a perfectly proportioned work.

The original bookcase is long lost, but the room it stood in bore the footprint in the faded floor boards. Based on an old Bauhaus archive catalog page, an old photograph, and the width of the boards taken from the floor, a faithful reconstruction was possible.

Solid white oak boards are fumed (darkened naturally through an oxidization process) for the horizontal elements, and waxed and hand-polished for the light vertical elements. Invisible sliding dovetail joints cleverly joins the elements to look as if they intersect effortlessly one into the other.

Made in Germany by the Josef Albers Foundation.  Please allow 6-8 weeks for fabrication. FOB Connecticut.