Invisible Bookend
by Paul Cocksedge


Product news: Hackney designer Paul Cocksedge has launched an invisible bookend to find out if people will buy an object for its function rather than its appearance.

Invisible Bookend by Paul Cocksedge

Speaking to Dezeen, the designer revealed that the Invisible Bookend is a freestanding object made of metal, but gave no further clue to how it works.

Invisible Bookend by Paul Cocksedge

"The idea is it's not about the object," said Cocksedge. "It's all about the fact there's not anything interesting about the design, it's just a great functional object."

Invisible Bookend by Paul Cocksedge

The bookend holds a metre and a half of books at an angle and is available from the designer's online shop priced £50.

Last month Cocksedge produced an aerial installation featuring a mystery telephone number as part of Dezeen's Seven Designers for Seven Dials project in Covent Garden, London. He also contributed a pendant lamp made of polystyrene cups to the Dezeen-curated Stepney Green Design Collection.

See all our stories about Paul Cocksedge »

Photographs are by Mark Cocksedge.

  • Rothmuz

    I am assuming it’s a metal angle hidden in one of the books? Or a book itself? What is wrong with a bookend? Or pile of books at the end of a row of books (that’s also an invisible bookend)!

    £50 is a lot for something you can’t see (although I believe this is the designer’s point). It’s on the designers website and you can’t see a picture of what you are actually buying.

    Anyone who buys this is a fool! And has more money than sense!

  • daniel

    I think it’s gorgeous and the money is well spent for a “magic” gesture which makes you smile every time you see it. A truly “designed” piece!

  • Jess

    I have some invisible bookshelves (from Umbra) which perform the same sort of trick. I love them. Didn't spend £50 though!

  • Birgitte JH

    Tsss, I might not buy it “for its function rather than its appearance”, but rather to see how its appearance is and how it works. I get curious cause they don’t show it anywhere. Now, how am I gonna sleep at night?! :-D

  • david

    I had an umbra shelf. I put 5 books on them and they pulled out the screws from the wall. The books fell and crashed into my fish tank and killed two of my fish! :-(

  • Pluk vd Petteflet

    For 50 euros (which is less than 50 pounds) I could buy two Billy shelves from IKEA.

    • Leon

      Five Billy IKEA. They cost £10 each. But that is not the point. I do not mind paying for a design object (I did and I will), but not for something I cannot see/enjoy.

      However, we are sick. We are inventing objects we do not need. I understand the idea but what’s the sense in having a leaning book in my beautiful bookshelf? What’s wrong in laying the books horizontally? The designers should improve the way of living, not make us lazy and idiotic. Mah… I am living in another dimension.

      • daniel

        Five Billy IKEA which have been produced under the worst cirumstances to reach such a ridiculous price. This is sick! The negative impact on the society, nature etc is much worse by the five IKEA than by this little piece. You guys don’t have any idea what the production of any kind of object costs as long as you don’t build millions of it. 50 pounds is not a bargain, but also not too expensive for this.

        Come on guys, this is truly postmodern! How many pieces on this website – in the shops – are completely useless? This is of course one of them, but with a sweet little twist which makes you smile.

        Okay, who is now going to be the first to say “postmodern, but 30 years too late”?

  • cchris

    No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative. It gets people going.

  • csparrott

    I'll knock one of these out for 3 quid if anyone wants one.

    • Keith

      Er, great. Why don’t you just go right ahead and do that then, csparrot, rather than sitting there banging on about it.

  • simone

    Yeah but yours is not a Cocksedge! Yours is a parrott ;)

  • ady

    “To see if people will buy somthing just for the function” translates to “let’s promote this without anyone actually seeing it so they don’t realise how much they are getting ripped off, because if they do see it no one will ever buy it”. Advertising execs all high five in joy at their cunning plan. Bill Hicks was right.

  • Open Eyes an Mind

    Major misfire in design. See it or don’t see it; doesn’t matter. The design is going to wreck the binding of the books stored in it and thus has ignored a very important aspect of any design.

    • Dave Gronlie

      The very same thing I was thinking when I saw this article. It may be fun and all, but I wouldn’t use it with a book I really cared about and wanted to keep in good condition.

  • Daisy

    Oooooh, he’s a magician marketer. Fifty quid for this trick? Umm, no thanks.

  • Sophie

    My one arrived this morning in the post! It’s wonderful! My husband and I can’t stop looking at it x

    • Nick

      How can you not stop looking at something you can’t see..? ;)

  • bigshape

    The emperor’s new bookend?

  • Paul

    I know this isn’t about the object, but the fact that it is “designed” by a designer and sold for a high price means that its absence makes it even more physical!

    And the angle the books have indicates the presence of some sort of trick, really developing the presence and physicality of the whole object.

    Again I feel some designers have problems with communication. There is nothing incredible about this object being not there.

  • Claire

    Paul, take a chill pill! Just let go and enjoy it. It’s a little twist on normality! I like it and its message. Too many design objects are about their appearance… this is somehow different.

  • truthnbeauty

    “__________________________________________________ ! ”

    My brilliant comment is also ‘not there’. I’m also a designer… wanna buy it?

  • George

    Let me see if I get this straight. You want me to contribute £50. And you’re NOT going to show me what I’m paying for, nor how it is going to work for me? Does Paul Cocksedge have any relation to the political advisors on the Romney campaign?

  • martini-girl

    I don’t care if it is invisible or not (most bookends are anyway). But why would anyone buy a product that is going to ruin the spine of a book?

  • No body

    Just another gimmick from someone who has clearly run out of ideas.

  • I think you are all taking it too seriously. It’s a bit of fun, a commentary in design, and a clever way of starting a dialogue and getting people talking and thinking!

  • I’d rather buy the Heatherwick book with those 50 pounds!

  • ian edward fraser

    Congratulations Dezeen on Apple launch!

    Two points:

    – My books naturally tend to lean on my bookshelves. I asked them how they feel and they said they were fine!

    – Have you seen some of the horrible marble bookends that the world has given us? I would pay 100 pounds to get rid of that clutter.

    I’m OK with this piece of work. Bit strange he’s not showing us what we get for our money, but if it works that’s all that matters I suppose.

  • Henry

    It amazes me that some of these comments seem to have a hint of jealously and anger to them. The whole point of this product is not needing to see it as it is displaying the books is a new and exciting way. The negative comments are clearly from people who don’t have an appreciation for innovative and thought provoking design.

  • £oney

    I am fine with the object being invisible. I can see its function from the photos, fair enough, but £50 just seems way too much – is it made of gold metal? Make it £5 and it becomes (more) interesting.

  • Sam

    This is a great concept for a product, however I agree that this product is way over-priced for being on Cocksedge’s site. If you could see the product, however – for example in Selfridges – you would pay £50, £60, £70 even more for it.

  • soph

    It’s great. I like it. But it is near impossible to create an object which is purely functional and not purchased for its appearance. The aesthetic is the look of the slanted books. People will buy it for that look. It’s the atom bomb. We can never determine how someone will use or purchase something. Designers can eliminate the features which are intentionally for decoration, but someone will always find a way to use that for their own personal aim.

  • Danko

    Its so depressing reading all these comments. What should have been just another good example of everyday modern design representing the very point of design itself in a practical and poetic way has instead exposed the fact that the majority of people who are interested in design and who think they know about it are actually only interested in status symbols/toys/etc and still have a very old fashioned idea of the purpose of design.

    “Oh no! But if I can’t see it how will my friends see it so we can all talk about how clever/funny/tasteful it is/I am?”

    Is it so shocking to buy a bookshelf that does what a bookshelf is suppose to do? Doesn’t the fact you cant see the mechanics add a sense of magic? I think it demonstrates how far thinking has come. Some of the comments are clearly from the 80s some from the 1800s.

    I do however agree it’s over-priced. That in itself is as interesting a topic of discussion as the one Mr Cocksedge is trying to make and makes it harder for him to maintain the moral high ground ; ] but it’s interesting to see what should be a standard shop shelf item promoted to the status of iconic by virtue of the kind of comments made above which go to show the world is apparently still not ready.

  • Noah

    “‘The idea is it’s not about the object,’ said Cocksedge. ‘It’s all about the fact there’s not anything interesting about the design, it’s just a great functional object.'”

    Then why make a design that causes the books to tilt? It defeats the purpose entirely. It just draws attention to something that’s there, which miraculosly makes the books stand up. It’s a giveaway! It makes it obvious that you’ve purchased an expensive designed bookend. Seems to be all about the object to me.

  • Terrible. It may be invisible but it is functionless as well. Books set at that angle will no doubt have their spines tweaked and damage will ensue. Books need to be vertical, not angled to be aesthetically pleasing. Seems arbitrary and a failed conclusion to the thesis of “will they buy function over form”.