Don’t have anywhere to store your bike? Try the back of a new sofa. Or on top of a bookcase. Or nestled in a sideboard, or perched on a desk. In theory, a new collection of bike-friendly furniture could store eight different bikes in a small apartment, without taking up any extra room.
Each piece of furniture has built-in grooves to hold bikes securely upright. Chilean designer Manuel Rossel first released three designs earlier this year and now has five more that will be out in 2016.
Unlike wall racks, the bike furniture can go anywhere in a room. The designers wanted “to solve the storage of bikes in an ‘architecture-friendly’ way that merges with architecture, but doesn’t depend on it,” says Rossel. “The criteria we set for ourselves was to design an integrated bike rack that was freestanding.”
The furniture doesn’t use screws or any other parts other than the wood itself. Everything can be assembled without tools or glue, and comes flat-packed. Each package is small enough that it can fit on a cargo bike for delivery. “We can deliver up to three pieces of furniture while cycling,” Rossel says.
Because the pieces can be cut on a CNC machine–standard equipment in maker labs and large workshops–the furniture could eventually also be made locally, rather than shipped from Chile around the world.
Rossel hopes the line will help solve a common problem for apartment-dwelling cyclists: Where do you put your bike when you get home? “With the growth of urban cycling, combined with shrinking of living space–where garages, patios, or ‘bike rooms’ have disappeared–bikes were inevitably stored in more visible spaces of the home, like the living room, bedroom or balcony,” he says.
If we’re going to live with bikes, he thought, why not truly build them into our homes? “Furniture for storing bikes is born from the premise that a piece of furniture can help us coexist more comfortably, and that the bike is a decorative object in itself,” he says.
“Today, bikes are set to become the transportation of the future–in the best case scenario–and it is reasonable that the design of furniture also looks at how it is going to face this new daily act of storing your bike inside your apartment.”