Creativity Corner Creative Projects

the joy of the boby trolley

April 8, 2013

As a creative, working form home, i’m forever trying to find ways to tame my ‘creative chaos’. Part of me needs to have stuff on view for inspiration and yet i crave order too. it’s a never ending struggle.

To help me, i’m always looking for interesting storage ideas that will simultaneously act as a beautiful piece of furniture. There is nothing more satisfying to me than exhibiting much loved products but also give them a sense of order.

I was very excited to see a fantastic magazine rack my friend igor shared with us. Igor, after much deliberation, i’ve settled for the black one and it will live in my bedroom:-)

Today, let me introduce you to the iconic boby trolley. Boby, designed by joe colombo in 1970, is a trolley storage unit which has made its mark on history, mainly due to its outstanding versatility. Designed to guarantee customised storage capacity, the structure and drawers are made from injection-moulded ABS plastic, while the casters are made of polypropylene. The manufacturing process is still very much in use and you can order your own boby trolley here. This iconic design is part of the permanent collection of the museum of modern art in new york and “triennale” in milan.

About a month ago i read of a unique sale of interesting vintage items by a mum and daughter. It was on a corner of redchurch street in shoreditch and it just sounded different and a little quirky. I made sure i went to the pre-view of the sale and as soon as i walked in i knew it was not in vein. I immediately spotted the gorgeous red boby trolley and i could feel my heartbeat racing out of excitement. I was delighted to discover it was still available and at the snippet price of £60 there was nothing really to reflect. It was mine. I knew, by speaking to the mother, that she had loved and cared for it over the 30 years or so in her possession and that’s part of the excitement of buying vintage, wouldn’t you agree?

I thought i would show you what i use my boby trolley for and hope you enjoy this little tour:-)

Here it is in full bloom!


The famous signature engraved inside the bottom shelf.


Let’s start with the back. How ingenius to have a space for long tubes and the likes. Although i have in-build architectural plan chests, there’s never a clever way to store longer and thicker items. The tubes you see are limited edition monocle prints that, after 4 years, still need framing!


From left: moleskine notebook with a customised cover made for me (no longer available). Caran d’ache 849. Mulberry A5 organiser. Graf von Faber-Castell classic pencil pernambuco wood.


From left: Waterman fountain pen, lady agatha (no longer available, look at auctions). A range of kaweco fountain pens and pencil. Koh -i-noor mechanical pencil.


Awww, my beloved mr p one man tape dispenser.


I’ve blogged about my paper clips before. See here.


Faber-castell pitt artist pens. Faber-castell pitt artist pen big brush.


Artefacts cards. Bussiness cards by


Wallpaper city guides. The berlin design guide.


Inside the top draw you’ll find my mt tapes and some feathers and craft materials.


In the second draw i have some of my card collection. Favourites are christian lacroix  (bought in liberty) and numerous cards by alison sye.


Hope there’s been something of interest for you. Liking the monday sunshine. See you thursday!

By the way, i’ve just entered the Home Love contest at Fashion For Home and submitted the first photo here to indicate a place or corner of my home that i love! Well, you all now know that Boby is a very welcome new addition to my home office. Why not enter yourselves? You have until 18th April! 

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  • Reply leah of sang the bird April 9, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Your boby trolley is an amazing find! It is in fabulous condition! “Part of me needs to have stuff on view for inspiration and yet i crave order too. it’s a never ending struggle.” T, I have the same problem…. quite often I have inpirational chaos.
    And that magazine rack is awesome. It is now on my wish list {and my pinterest board too :)}
    Hope your week is wonder full xx

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Haha. Inspirational Chaos… YAY!!! Love how we creatives think alike.. I see another feature on my blog:-) xx

      Yes, it’s been bought for me as a present. In Black. Got to love Men, the good and the bad:-) Oh, yeah and he can put it up too… perfect!

  • Reply Annie April 9, 2013 at 8:04 am

    That’s quite an impressive stationery collection Tina! I like your mechanical pencils, my dad used to use those. Like the tape dispenser too 🙂

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Ha. You don’t really think that’s my stationery collection. It’s maybe 5% of it. I collect pens, pencils (mechanical) and lots of other stationery…glad you like Mr P:-)

  • Reply Igor April 9, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Excellent choice, Tina. I am pretty sure the black magazine rack will look rad in your bedroom. And I hope you will share with us the look of it once it’s ready! Oh and the cute little ‘Boby Trolley’ – it looks like the perfect fellow for the home office…now if only I had a home office…

    • Reply Michaela April 14, 2013 at 8:17 am

      …I went for the Yellow one in the end Igor! ;-)xx

      • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        Fab!!!! I thought about it buit black better for my bedroom! x

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Photo is a must after it’s installed, right?

      Haha! Darling, you know size isn’t everything… well, sometimes it is:-)

  • Reply Judith April 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I love Joe Colombo’s designs! And this Boby is so very pretty!!! It looks a bit like a rolykit for grown-ups! But with a better design 😉 You filled it with quite a collection of creative supplies. Wow!

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Thanks you Judith. Haha. Love the analogy to the rolykit.. for those who want to know what it is..

      As I said below, that’s nothing. I need an entire studio to display all my creative supplies. Now your home would be a solution:-)

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey April 9, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Well that was a snip and with 30 years of history… what a cool purchase. Boby is adorable, although perhaps a little frenetic for me. I’m just glad he’s found a good home in your place (or should that be she?) It was obviously meant to be!

    Boby and all of those objects and pieces say so much about your vivacious personality. Colourful, eclectic, good taste and a little madcap. It’s just like a little collection of Tina in a trolley. And it’s very sweet.

    Thanks for the peek inside your home again xx

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:50 am

      You so got it. It’s the combo of the great price (I am Jewish:-) AND the 30 years history. What a combo, right? It makes me love it even more!

      Boby, defo a man! Thank you love. I take it as a huge compliment: “Colourful, eclectic, good taste and a little madcap. It’s just like a little collection of Tina in a trolley. And it’s very sweet.”


  • Reply Catherine Bedson April 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    The Boby trolley is perfect, so well designed for your lovely stylish bits & pieces. I love that feeling when you find something vintage & it’s a good price..& the adrenalin starts pumping till its yours! Great buy Tina, look forward to seeing the black magazine rack. xx

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

      Thank you Catherine. Black magazine rack ordered! Photos coming soon x

  • Reply Holly April 9, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Fabulous Tina! You’re new magazine rack and Boby trolley are perfect additions to your amazing space. I’m sure they will live happily there, with you.

    60 pounds!! What a steal! I love Boby’s clever design -from the different type compartments right down to the wheels.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Thanks hun… I agree, both practical, beautiful with a good dose of fun thrown in. We can’t always take ourselves too seriously, right?
      Glad you like my Boby xx

  • Reply Chi @ 106 April 10, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    What a fun and practical find and in my favourite colour too! We share the same dilemma of order vs. creative chaos so this is right up my alley.

    I also have tubes of artwork from years past awaiting the right frames, spots in the house, etc. Our, as yet, untamed office-cum-studio could really use a Boby right now!:)

    How sweet is Mr.P? I followed your link and now I’d love one in fuschia. Love Christian Lacroix cards, too!

    P.S. Thanks for linking to the magazine rack from Igor’s post – it’s PERFECT for L’s books in her new grown-up room. I was going to go for a Nils Strinning bookshelf but having seen this, I’m sold! 😀 xo

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Haha. Us, creatives!

      Mr P has been through thick and thin with me. Great addition to your desk:-) The CL cards are BEAUTIFUL. Couldn’t find them online. I bought mine at Liberty. Worth every penny!

      Ha. Now me and L will share the same rack in our bedrooms… hopefully you’ll get her a colour and not black, like mine? xx

  • Reply Anya Jensen April 11, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Hi Tina, what a great find – and perfect for storing all the bits and bobs in such a stylish way. I adore the little tape man Mr. P too – he is fab.
    Hope you are well my friend, so look forward to catching up in Berlin soon,

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Thank you. Yeah, love Boby, will love my magazine rack (ordered).. glad everyone loves Mr P. He’s fun and practical!
      Yeah, Berlin soon (swoon) x

  • Reply Alison Sye April 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Tina, only just seen this post. We have been baking bread, the kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it but smells fantastic. My children have just settled down to watch a film called Igor (coincidentally) whilst it bakes – and I thought I’d catch up on my blog reading.
    Thanks so much for the mention once again. I love to think of my cards sitting in your beautiful trolley. Of course I love the fact that it comes with a history, which you have now added to. I’m laughing to think that perhaps you somehow strapped this to your scooter to get it home??
    There is another connection, I know Redchurch Street well. I already told you that Lynne of You Don’t Bring Me Flowers was the first person to stock my cards, well, Emily of Caravan was the second. I’m going back a number of years, mind you.
    Good luck with the competition, if I can get my act together I may enter too.

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      NOOOO, I was prepared for the find of the year:-) went by car as had cousin with me and we were off to FEAST afterwards.

      Ha. Great stuff. LOVE Emily. Was heartbroken when Caravan closed on Redchurch Street. Love that we are somehow connected, albeit never actually having met! Go on, enter the competition. What have you got to loose?

  • Reply Lena April 11, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Yes, I enjoyed your boby trolley tour and I know exactly why you love it so much! In fact, I was thinking about a solution for my workplace situation because I’m always working at the dining table in the living room and never at my desk in the bedroom so the dining table is always cluttered with my stuff. I was thinking that a little homeoffice-trunk on wheels to open or “unfold” would be perfect (like the fantastic trunk furniture designs by Li Naihan). Because I need to SEE things, simple drawers don’t help – and here’s another solution! And it it’s something that exists already and not something I’d have to invent!

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Yes, when I lived in my last flat (rented), I had a long table along the entire length built in the living room to work on. It’s difficult when you work on a dining table and have to also live/eat there.

      I think there are some great solutions for this home-office/trunk/on wheels furniture. More and more companies cater to small apartment living. I’ve seen a few but cannot put my hand on it right now. When I do, I will let you know.

      A great solution will change your world!

  • Reply Michaela April 14, 2013 at 8:21 am

    I cannot tell you how jealous I am of your find Tina! I’ve been looking for one of these for years, and will probably just have to settle for Ikea jobby – oh well it will do for now. I love your collection of bits n bobs too (you really need to get those Monocle prints up!)

    I said to the ladies that run the blog that I’m probably going to put together something too – but It’s chaos here today, so I think I’ll have to see how it goes, I’ve got a rough idea but I’m not very confident at taking photos! (My Achilles Heel as a blogger) xxx

    • Reply tina April 15, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Oh, sweetie, don’t give up hope… you know my friend Nicola told me the other day that years ago, this design studio just discarded many Boby Trolleys on the street… can you believe it! Never give up hope!!!!

      I know, I think my friend who gave them to me must will never forgive me if he knew… the reason for it though is that I have no wall space, but that’s not an excuse. When I saw some hung up in The Monocle Café I really got an itch to do it….

      Stop it, just point and shoot woman. It’s all about just doing it.. that will give you confidence. Think of the price:-))))) That should do it! xx

  • Reply Nicola April 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve been through a few boby trolleys in my time, they are wonderful, in fact one I acquired when the graphics practice near me in Bermondsey had a clear-out (as you have already related, above) An iconic classic, so sad that he died so young, I wonder what other wonders he would have come up with.
    I put one beside one of my daughter’s beds & really liked it there but she was too young for it & it was covered in secret irremoveable stickers on her side of the bed! I think she’ll really regret this when she’s older.

    You have inspired me now to buy another one. I love all your stationery and pens, a fabulous collection xx

  • Reply Nicky May 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I love the trolley, it is so cute! I also think I might kill to have your stationery collection. I just have my silly work pens!
    Anyway, I write a blog aaaallll about trolleys, real airline trolleys but with funky designs – my latest posts are on retro kitchen trolleys and 20s inspired glamour trolleys.
    Would love it if you would take a look.
    I always enjoy seeing your posts on Facebook.
    Best from Cologne,

  • Reply organising my arts & crafts stash » colourliving colourliving August 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    […] got. I scramble around in my humble home office and however much clever storage i have, like my boby trolley or my lego storage head, i still misplace things or can’t remember what i’ve got or […]

  • Reply Joe Colombo Boby Trolley, 1970 | Island Modern June 17, 2014 at 9:44 am

    […] Read this fantastic blog about a fellow creative’s love for her Boby: “The Joy of the Bo… […]

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