This is part of a series highlighting notable entries to our 2012 Innovation By Design Awards–Ed.
So, no one noticed that rare record you left artfully peeking out of your vinyl shelf? Again? Bummer. As much as we’d like to deny it, we all have certain objects we’re proud to own. Z-Step, a hybrid shelving/display system from designer Michael Schoner, offers a more reliable way to draw attention to stuff that’s just too special to languish in dark drawers or on dusty shelves.
Z-Step is a system of aggregated 13” x 13” x 13” pieces of sheet metal. The “steps” can be arranged in 14 different configurations, forming unusual, Escher-esque display spaces. A hand-carved set of magnetized beechwood accessories–bars, hangers, and knobs–make the powder-coated plates functional display space for books, clothing, and anything else you can fit on there.
Z-Step was originally designed with stores and galleries in mind. “I’m keen to furnish a shop or a small library with it,” Schoner tells Co.Design. But popular demand from individual buyers has caused him to reconsider–he’s now taking one-off orders for Z-Step, which he makes himself in his Amsterdam studio.
Schoner, a trained architect who migrated to product design, used AutoCAD to design Z-Step–and it shows. From certain angles, the powder-coated white aluminum seems two-dimensional. From others, steps and angles sprout from every direction. Talking to It’s Nice That, the designer explains that the effect comes from experimenting with Isometric view in CAD. “I’m very curious about things that from one point of view form a body only to reveal that they are just a two-dimensional surface as the perspective changes,” he tells Catherine Gaffney. “It’s mini-architecture.”