Literary pursuits

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 May, 2011, 12:00am


Few Hong Kong homes are big enough to accommodate a library, but that doesn't mean bibliophiles have to sacrifice their love of all things literary. A clutch of designers are making all manner of furnishings - wallpaper, tables, even vases - inspired by books, or, in a brave act of recycling, made from them.

British wallpaper designer Deborah Bowness ( has created wall coverings with names such as Genuine Fake Bookshelf (below right) and New Antique Books. They come on rolls measuring 56cm across and 330cm long, and are digitally printed before being hand-painted with colour. The result can be a room that looks as if it is crammed to the rafters with books, lending an intelligent, cultured sensibility to the space. Bowness has a stockist in Taiwan ( but the wallpaper can also be ordered directly from her website.

New York-based Brunschwig & Fils ( uses a trompe l'oeil effect for its Bibliotheque wallpaper, designed by decorator Richard Neas. It is so effective, you might be inclined to reach out and try to pluck a book from one of the shelves. The colourful covering is ideal for a small room or hallway.

British designer Tracy Kendall ( has created the Stack series, a hyper-realistic print of a tall column of books, piled higgledy-piggledy.

At international furnishings e-tailer Bouf (, there is a striking Vintage Bookshelf wallpaper by Young & Battaglia. The paper is textured and in muted shades, and can be shipped internationally through the site.

Californian designer Jim Rosenau ( creates bookshelves made from vintage volumes. Much of his work revolves around thematic shelves, 'using book titles to make jokes or tell stories', he says. He also reuses sets of encyclopaedias for bookcases. Prices range from US$300 to US$700 for the shelves and can rise to US$2,000 for a complete bookcase (above right), although he makes clocks and key hangers from books for less than US$100. He works primarily on custom orders, with pieces commissioned around a specific person, or designed for a room based on colour and size. He can ship internationally.

British designer Laura Cahill ( uses the finely pleated pages of books to create vases (above left) and lamp bases. Also, she takes entire hardcover books and affixes them between wooden legs for an interesting take on an end table.