I absolutely love design that is so simple, but so massive in the functionality it provides. In general, a shelf is just about the most simple, practical addition to any room you can get – I have no idea why we don’t just have shelves for walls instead of walls. Too far? Maybe. But a nice looking shelf isn’t limited to living on a wall. At least, not any more.

The Float Shelf is the third successful Kickstarter project from Steve King and Prism Design. The Float Shelf is exotically minimal, but if you’re an owner of an iMac or Apple display, you’ll see the practicality of it right away. At least, that’s what people are telling me. I don’t own an iMac, but the Float Shelf makes me want to buy an iMac. Yeah, I’m looking for excuses. This shelf will save me time AND looks good.


The design is so simple. The anodized aluminum plate has a single notch that slides down, wraps around and sits perpendicular to the Apple display stand. It comes in two sizes: 6.5″x 18″ (for iMac and Cinema displays) and a larger 6.5″ x 22″ (for larger iMacs and Thunderbolt displays) with both capable of holding up to 10 lbs. Though it’s simple and minimal, the thought and effort put into the design had some complex challenges. On the design, Steve tells us:

The genesis of the Float Shelf was seeing the BackPack add-on shelf for iMacs that was introduced by Twelve South three years ago. This is a small, bent metal, painted finish shelf that can hold little more than a single external hard drive. I thought the premise was brilliant (attaching a shelf to the back of an iMac’s stand to take advantage of unused space), but I thought the idea could be improved by making a shelf that would be larger, stronger, and that more closely matched the iMac’s minimalist aesthetics as well as the iMac’s high quality fit and finish. I wanted to craft an add-on shelf for the iMac that would look like the shelf I imagined Apple would design.
When I purchased a BackPack it came with a dozen small brackets and plastic inserts that made it very challenging to attach, so I also decided any shelf I would design should be extremely easy to mount.
The most difficult and critical design decision for the Float Shelf was implementing a bracketless design. It took me a year to develop the idea for a how to securely attach a shelf to an iMac without using brackets, bolts, shims, or screws as other shelfs do… Fortunately, the iMac’s stand has a somewhat unique double-tapering geometry (the stand tapers in both width and thickness) which allowed me to create a cantilevering attachment that securely mounts a Float Shelf to an iMac using just geometry and gravity. My bracketless mounting design has now been approved by the USPTO for a utility patent.

A big design challenge was prototyping the bracketless attachment because the double-tapered faces on theFloat Shelf’s mounting channel are very challenging to fabricate using CNC. I was able, eventually, to make a proof-of-concept prototype using wire EDM, and it was very exciting to see the mounting concept work as conceived on the very first prototype shelf made by EDM, and I must confess that I was a bit surprised by how solid, strong, and stable the attachment proved to be as I was anticipating there would be some play or wobble to the shelf; however, the shelf attachment is super strong, tight, and stable.

The Float Shelf was fully funded in just a matter of days through their campaign on Kickstarter, crossing the $25,000 goal and heading up with a full month and change to go. At this point, early bird pricing is still available at $75 for either size. Pledges for 2, 5 and 10 shelves are also available, with shipping and delivery of the Float Shelf estimated for April 2017.



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Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.