The REK bookcase, designed by Rotterdam-based architect Reinier de Jong, is ingenious both in its simplicity and functionality. Made in five parts, the zigzag-stacked components slide in and out of each other – expanding to accommodate more books or to fill a longer length of wall, if desired. Compressing the shelves together allows the bookcase to fit into a smaller space or avoid a half-empty look if there are only a few books to display. The zigzag construction automatically creates sections of different height — big ones to fit tall books, artwork or sound systems, horizontal slots for magazines or a DVD player. The owner can play with the design to customize a look or add more bookcases to create a larger library or architectural pattern. Finished with a high-gloss white laminate on the outside and a warm gray stain laminate on the inside, the REK adapts to most any décor. The more we studied it, the more we admired its smart, flexible design.
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The World Database of Happiness (WDH) at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, has been conducting scientific research on happiness levels worldwide, in some cases taking measurements over a 30-year period. The WDH arrived at their happiness quotient by surveying their subjects’ overall satisfaction with life as well as their mood day-to-day. In addition to having the subjects self-rate their contentment level, the interviewers even conducted sight inspections, rating their subjects’ “cheerful appearance” based on eight aspects, including whether their mouth was turned up or down in a smile or frown and whether their movements looked relaxed or withdrawn. The data was basically broken down into not at all happy, not very happy, quite happy, and very happy. (WDH had lots of other happiness measures too complicated to understand, much less try to explain without becoming very unhappy.) Fortunately, Good and Open took WDH’s data and worked with Dorian Orange to create an infographic of happiness by country, using the familiar yellow “happy face” to illustrate the point.