Japanese Designer Hacks IKEA Shelf to Create Floor to Ceiling Parabolic Shelving

If you’re looking to create high-end design on an IKEA budget, take inspiration from Japanese artist and architect Takayoshi Kitagawa, who renovated his parents’ 38-year old apartment and studio in Osaka and transformed it into a dynamic, modernist living space.

Kitagawa’s father was a collector of odds and ends that dominated the living space. So the architect had made it his task to create shelving that would hold his father’s collection while also allowing it to ebb away into the background of their life – a type of harmony between lifestyle and object.

IKEA’s KALLAX modular shelving unit

Kitagawa’s sketch showing his IKEA hack to create parabolic shelving

Kitagawa worked primarily with IKEA’s KALLAX shelving units, which come in multiple models and configurations. And he got the idea to transform them into parabolic forms after draping duct tape from the ceiling, which drooped down to create the U-shaped orientations. “The parabolic shelf hanging from the ceiling makes contact with the floor while gradually squeezing the light entering through the window,” explains Kitagawa. “Shadows are created on the floor around the contact point, and the form is established structurally.”

Kitagawa created a total of 3 of these floor-to-ceiling units in slightly different sizes, and oriented them differently throughout the apartment.

duct tape draped from the ceiling create outlines for the floor-to-ceiling shelves





  1. How did he get the IKEA wood to bend at the bottom without it breaking?

  2. The real question is How? i love the design and the idea of it. Thanks for sharing Johny.

  3. Anthony Manners, it might just be me, but looking at the pieces, it seems that the element that forms the parabolic curve is an additional structural piece, not a modification of the existing shelf material. The curved piece would have been fabricated and the shelf modified to fit within it.

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