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Now You See It: The Disappearing Shelf, Desk, and More from Ambivalenz

Flapps by Ambivalenz fold-down desk and folding chair.

Are we in agreement that the delete button is the best feature on every keyboard? German designer Malta Grieb understands our need for a clean slate. His birch-plywood Fläpps system is composed of shelves, tables, and desks that fold up and down Murphy-bed style, so that when not in use that they all but disappear. In other words, it’s storage you can erase, or, at least, put away.

Produced by Grieb’s aptly named Berlin company Ambivalenz, his versatile designs are ideal for tight quarters—or streamlined rooms—of all sorts. So if you’re a mimimalist and/or short on space but dream of having ample shelving, a desk, kitchen table, and more, take a look at the possibilities.

The Flapps system fold-down shelving by Ambivalenz of Berlin.
Above: Fläpps shelving comes in an array of sizes and shapes and can be hung in tandem: The combination shown here includes four separate three-shelf 80 x 80 Fläpps units (each measuring 80 by 80 centimeters, and, like most of these designs, a mere three centimeters thick); €345 each. One- and two-shelf designs are also available.

Grieb’s “modules” are reminiscent of nautical design, in which every inch is put to good use. In Remodelista: The Organized Home , we feature a boatbuilder’s tactics for small-space living (page 60), including: “Choose furnishings that fold, stack, or disappear.”

Flapps by Ambivalenz fold-down shelf and clothes hanger.
Above: The Fläpps Folding Coat Hang Rail is $229 from Amara, the only retailer that offers the line in this country. (The full catalog is available directly from Ambivalenz and from a number of European retailers.)
Flapps fold-down shelf and hanging system by Ambivalenz.
Above: A cutout channel turns the shelf into a hanging rod.

Fläpps are made by a family-run furniture factory in Poland. They’re lacquer-finished birch plywood with stainless steel fittings.

Flapps by Ambivalenz fold-down shelf.
Above: The picture-frame-like Fläpps Single White Folding Shelf measures 40 by 40 by 3 centimeters (with a 30-by-30 centimeter shelf ) and works well as a bedside table. Amara has it currently marked down to $128 (from $159), and two other sizes are also available.
Flapps by Ambivalenz fold-down shelf.
Above: In addition to white, the designs come in black—as well as stripes, dots, and an array of printed patterns. The Fläpps Single Black Folding Shelf is currently marked down to $137 (from $171).
The Flapps system fold-down vanity by Ambivalenz of Berlin.
Above: Meet the world’s most compact vanity. Kitted out with a mirror, shelves, and interior lighting, the 40-by-40-by-13-centimeter “makeup tank” or Schminktank Vanity Cabinet is €345. The Fläpps Vanity Mirror—the folding shelf with an inset mirror—is $234 from Amara.
Flapps by Ambivalenz fold-down table.
Above: Table for two? The Fläpps Kitchen Table is 50 by 50 centimeters and fits into a 60-by-60-by-2-centimeter frame; €235.
The pieces can be combined in countless ways. Here, two 80-by-40-centimeter Fläpps Single Folding Shelves, $175 in white and $184 in black, sandwich a pair of 40-by-40-centimeter single shelves.
Above: The pieces can be combined in countless ways. Here, two 80-by-40-centimeter Fläpps Single Folding Shelves, $175 in white and $184 in black, sandwich a pair of 40-by-40-centimeter single shelves.
The Flapps system fold-down shelving by Ambivalenz of Berlin.
Above: The designs are perfect for shoehorning in workspace, such as a sewing table. The Fläpps Secretary of State, €375, incorporates a black canvas 0rganizer with pockets for a laptop, power cord, paperwork, pens, pencils, stapler, and scissors.
Flapps by Ambivalenz fold-down desk and folding chair.
Above: When not in use, the Flapps Folding Chair, €245, turns into a two-centimeter-thick board that can be leaned against a wall or tucked in a closet.

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