Collaborating, Discovering

Hubert Zandberg on sprucing up your shelves

You’ve splashed out on a bespoke, hand-crafted bookcase – now what to fill it with? Do you pack it with books, or adorn it sparsely with a few ornaments? It’s a dilemma Hubert Zandberg, our designer-at-large and founder of Hubert Zandberg Interiors, sees on a regular basis. We sat down with him to learn how to use books, art and sculpture to bring a touch of beauty to your shelves.


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Beware of ‘chatter’
You have to be a little bit careful displaying books. They bring a lot of energy and a lot of presence to the room. There’s a little trick I use if a cover is too loud: remove the dust jacket, and the hardback is nearly always beautiful.

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Think musically
You can push the books back a little, and create a niche for an object. For me, it’s like punctuating music. The books are the notes, and objects are rests, breaking up the tune and giving it a little rhythm.

Use light
There is nothing more pleasing than old glasses resting on a metal or glass shelf. I have them in my bar, and it looks stunning when the light falls through a brandy-filled carafe.

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Keep it simple
I often use simple metal frames with wooden planks for shelves. The beauty of this design is that you can keep adding to them. They look fantastic, and any good metalworker – even your neighbour, or a guy from your village – could make a set.

Meaning matters
You can have objects that are very modest, and very simple, but if they’re displayed in the right way they can become special.

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All images supplied by Hubert Zandberg Interiors

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