Modular shelving units have been around for a while, but this new six-piece set from CB2 is a refreshing change from the ubiquitous plywood-and-lacquer versions. I like the industrial bite of these shelves, and the metal makes them far less bulky than their plywood counterparts. Despite their lack of bulk, they can hold a lot of weight (the largest shelf can hold 45 pounds), which is nice for those of us (all of us, right?) who want to stuff these full of books and only books. A lack of paint or lacquer also means there's no finish to chip, which is a sorely unsung benefit. The set is a sturdy $199 and is only available online here.
Materials: Powder-coated iron rods and sheet metal, exposed brass welding
Measurements: One each of 18"Wx5.5"Dx4"H (holds 35 lbs.), 24"Wx5.5"Dx6"H (holds 45 lbs.), 15"Wx5.5"Dx9"H (holds 25 lbs.), 9"Wx5.5"Dx8"H (holds 15 lbs.), 12"Wx5.5"Dx9"H (holds 20 lbs.), 9"Wx5.5"Dx5"H (holds 15 lbs.)