These aren't your average IKEA bookcases. Created by new independent designers and small companies who like to experiment with unconventional materials, every item on this list is something you probably won't come across in your friends' homes.

  1. Indie Furniture: Nicola Enrico Staubli sells readymade aluminum $22 clamps through his webshop. The clamps ship to the customer's home, and he or she goes to the hardware store to have the wood cut to spec — the final product is a semi-custom collaboration between designer and customer.
  2. TOKEN: A Brooklyn-based design/build studio, TOKEN focuses on custom projects for clients — like the wall of heavy-duty powdercoated steel and acrylic shelving, shown above, in the XDesign Environmental Health Clinic at NYU.
  3. BrickBox: These aren't yet available in the US, but they're a fun idea anyway. Like the milk-crate shelves you might have used to store your albums in college, the BrickBox is composed of individual carrying cases with handles that form a bookcase when flipped on end and stacked together. Available in Spain, these sell per individual crate — €39.95 for the large and €29.95 for the small.
  4. Viola Park: The brand new sister company of Seattle-based Henrybuilt Kitchens, Viola Park makes modular shelves and cabinets from strand bamboo panels and other green materials. Contact them for a price quote.
  5. Busso: An extension of Italian company Bussolari, Busso is a new contemporary home furnishings brand with distribution and an e-commerce site in the United States. Their Sleepy Lamp ($996) combines a leaning ladder/shelf with a light source.