the 606

early on in this blog's history, i did a very small post about the dieter rams-designed 606 universal shelving system, but i've long felt the system deserved a bigger posting, so here it is. designed in 1960 with the help of neils vitsoe, professor rams' system is an incredibly beautiful bit of design thinking. when it was introduced it must must have looked shockingly clean and industrial. the main idea wasn't so new; pole and wall mounted shelving systems with optional cabinets and desks abounded in the '40s and '50s (omni, cado, ladderax, etc., etc.), but those systems were mostly made of wood, sometimes with gold accents. they were almost earthy in comparison to the white powder coated steel shelves and starkly silver hardware of the 606. rams' shelving was like a pure idea of storage come to life. it still is. it's difficult to imagine a system more stripped to its essence, but if material innovations make that possible, i feel certain that vitsoe will make it happen. they continue to work directly with dieter rams to make improvements to the system, keeping a design classic from becoming merely design history. in fact, the relationship between vitsoe and the 606 is so close that they seem one and same (the 606 is often referred to as "vitsoe shelving"). so why wont you find the above pictures on vitsoe's website? are they from moss's website (after all, they claim to be the "exclusive distributor of the 606 Universal Shelving System in North America")? no. because vitsoe, it just so happens, isn't the only one to make the 606. italian furniture company de padova also make the system, albeit only in aluminum. that means you can also buy the 606 from a de padova dealer, as well as from vitsoe themselves. no matter who you get it from, if you have the means to acquire a bit of this lovely stuff, you'll hold on to it. 606 shelving rarely pops up in the secondary market; a nice tribute to the design in its own right. (below: images from vitsoe's site)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Erik, I actually thought of you as I looked at these shelves 'Erik would like these'.

- Helen (Bb.)