This wooden shoe rack doubles as a bench and a tray for transient bodies and objects

A lot of the clutter and missing items in our homes are caused by having no proper place to put our stuff. Whether they’re keys or shoes, small objects can lead to big messes when left anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes, it’s not enough just to have a place to put them; you also have to be smart in where you actually place these objects’ homes. Things that you take with you outside but not indoors are often best left near the door, but that space might not always be the best location for shelves. This design concept offers a rather elegant solution to this multi-layer problem, providing a more permanent fixture for temporary things like shoes, keys, earbuds, and even your own tired body.

Designer: Joao Teixeira

Shoe racks are not an uncommon sight inside houses, apartments, and living spaces. More often than not, their placed by the door to make it easy to put shoes on when leaving and have a convenient spot to leave them after you’ve taken them off. Due to the space these pieces of furniture occupy, however, they usually serve a single purpose only and have almost no other use except for shoe storage. It’s practically wasted space, especially if you don’t have that many shoes there to begin with.

Inspired by traditional Japanese architecture like torii gates, “Tokyo” is a shoe rack that goes above and beyond the call of duty, at least if you want it to. It actually serves two other functions in addition to holding your shoes. The cushioned top serves as a comfy bench, perfect for when you need to sit down to take a breather or put on shoes. There is a small tray on one side that lets you put down your phone, keys, and other knick-knacks for a while. Given the multi-functional design of the concept, it’s something that can easily be placed near the door or against any wall. Yes, it will take up a length of space, but you’re getting three for the price of one.

What’s even more impressive is how this design implements those three functions in a beautifully minimalist manner. Like many of Joao Teixeira’s furniture concepts, it involves using bent planks of plywood to achieve simple yet sophisticated-looking forms. In this case, the two legs are bent at opposite angles, but one of them extends upward and curves embrace the cushion, creating a completely flat and solid surface to act as a temporary holding area for small objects. Structural support is provided by a pseudo three-centered arch, also made from bent plywood, that creates a shelf for larger things.

Admittedly, Tokyo hardly looks like any typical shoe rack, which makes it an ideal piece of furniture to place anywhere. The large empty space at the bottom can be home for taller shoes and boots, while the shelf can hold sandals, loafers, sneakers, and similar footwear. Of course, it could also be used to hide books, foldable umbrellas, or other things you might want to quickly grab before you rush out the door. Either way, this shoe rack and bench in one provides a convenient and charming place for shoes and small items, not to mention a comfortable way to catch your breath after coming back home.