"Collapse (kuh-LAPS): To fall down or fall to pieces; to cave in, fail, shrink together; to fall down or break down suddenly. " But in a...

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“Collapse (kuh-LAPS): To fall down or fall to pieces; to cave in, fail, shrink together; to fall down or break down suddenly.”

But in a good way.

“Collapsibles are smart, man-made objects with the capacity to adjust in size to meet a practical need,” writes Danish designer Per Mollerup, author of “Collapsible: The Genius of Space-Saving Design” (Chronicle, $24.95).

We like his definition. Collapsibles are cool — compact, condensed and the perfect solution for maximizing space in a room, closet or cabinet. And the marketplace seems to agree, with fold-up, flatten-out chairs, hampers, carryalls and gadgets that ensure saving space doesn’t mean skimping on style.

We’ve come a long way since the folding card table.

Here’s a sampling:

• Wine barrel chair, $165, UncommonGoods, www.uncommongoods.com

• Collapsible vase, $6.95, Lee Valley Tools, www.leevalley.com

• Hanging storage shelves, $68, Garnet Hill, www.garnethill.com

• Printed Crunch Can hampers, $27.50 each, Umbra, www.umbra.com