A perennial challenge of riding a bike in the city is finding a place to store it—in a tiny studio apartment that barely fits a bed and sofa, a bicycle is just one more thing to trip over. While wall mounts are one answer, a Chilean designer has come up with a solution that's arguably better looking: A line of furniture that doubles as storage for bicycles.
Without a bike on top, the bookcases and sideboards in the collection just look like modern furniture. But each piece is designed with a groove that easily balances two wheels. Instead of displaying the usual living room centerpiece—a television—you can display your transportation. "It changes the cult of the TV to one of the bike," says designer Manuel Rossel.
"It's a way to optimize space that's scarce in urban centers," he adds. "If you already store your bike inside, it's a way to avoid marking the walls. It also turns into a firm support that keeps the bike from falling . . . and it adds value to the aesthetics of the room. I personally consider the bicycle to be a beautiful object."
Having a bike on constant display might also make someone more likely to ride it, and that's one of Rossel's goals. He sees his designs as anti-sedentary furniture to help get people out of cars. "People who drive lose all the benefits of physical activity," he says. "Biking also leads to economic savings and helps the decongestion and decontamination of cities."
The furniture is available locally in Chile, but Rossel hopes to soon start shipping internationally, where he thinks there may be more of a market for his products. "In Chile the market for cycling has grown, but it's still an act of courage to leave your home on a bike," he says. "There's a lack of urban infrastructure, different from the reality of Europe or the U.S., where I think people are more ready to complete the experience of urban cycling with a bike cabinet."
Better keep that bike clean, though.