In the 1960s, famed furniture designer Gianfranco Frattini introduced to the world a beautiful new type of bookcase. The designer’s spinning bookcase featured cube-shaped shelves that were stylish enough to display art objects alongside books. Shown below alongside the modern version by designers Poltrona Frau, the spinning bookshelf was a revolution in modern design – and Poltrona Frau’s update is a masterpiece in the same vein as the classic.

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Retro rotating bookcase by Poltrona Frau

The updated version of the rotating bookshelf is called Albero, which is Italian for “tree.” The shelf, held in place by tension rods, does in fact resemble a tree with branches extending from its central trunk. The rotating cubes are a modernized update of the classic design, creating a cleaner and airier aesthetic.

Retro rotating bookcase by Poltrona Frau wood

Each cube is customizable and can be moved around the “trunk” to fit your specific design needs. The stylish, modern bookshelf has an extremely tiny footprint, making it perfect for smaller homes where a traditional bookcase would be impractical. Just like its classic inspiration, the updated Albero bookcase is fit for displaying your most prized decorative objects alongside your book collection.

Retro rotating bookcase by Poltrona Frau updated Albero

More from the designers

Designed in the late 50’s by Gianfranco Frattini as a ‘floor-to-ceiling’ central bookcase, Albero was created for use in interior settings rather than for mass production. The Albero bookcase is formally associated with the Neo-Liberty period and, in terms of product type, with the floor-to-ceiling bookcase systems that were popular throughout the 1950’s and 60’s.”

“The structure is distinctive both for its intricate cabinet work and its sculpted appearance, which ensures that it is the centrepiece of the room. The supporting structure of the Albero bookcase is in solid Canaletto walnut. It is made up of two toothed supports, with a special rack joint, and four vertical pillars with regular holes that make it possible to assemble either 8 or 12 shelves. The latter are in MDF with wood veneer. The caps, at the ceiling and on the floor, are attached to the ends of the toothed supports.”

Retro rotating bookcase by Poltrona Frau details

“The top cap is inserted in a ‘cup’ anchored to the ceiling. The bottom cap grips the floor with a non-slip rubber. The bookcase is held securely in position by four metal locknuts in the caps. The fixing elements (caps and cup) have an antiqued burnished steel finish. The signature of the designer and the Poltrona Frau logo are laser engraved on the lower toothed support. The Albero bookcase can rotate 360°. On request, the shelf surfaces can be embellished and protected with a 4 mm-thick Cuoio Saddle leather insert with tone-on-tone dyed edge. The insert has hand markings around the edge and is branded with the Poltrona Frau logo.”