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Design classics: Vitsoe 606 shelving system

April 1, 2011

The Vitsoe 606 shelving system was designed in 1960 and as it is going strong over 50 years later it thoroughly deserves its place in our Design classics series.

In 1959 Niels Vitsoe, w ho was a Danish furniture entrepreneur, started a company with a German furniture maker with the aim of working with a rising star of furniture design, Dieter Rams.  Their goal was one which remains highly relevant during the current period of recession, to manufacture furniture that is simple and will last for as long as possible.

Dieter Rams has had a long career working in design and spent a significant amount of this working for Braun, he resigned as their Chief of Design in 1995 after holding the position for over 30 years.  He has won numerous awards for his design, and still to this day is involved in Vitsoe.  The picture below shows Vitsoe and Rams, taken before Vitsoe died in 1995.

The Vitsoe 606 system is named as it was designed in 1960 and was the company’s sixth design (hence 60-6).  Simplicity is the key, the shelves and drawer units all hang from the vertical aluminium E-track and can be moved or repositioned as your system grows.  Flexibility is another feature, the storage units come in two widths and the shelves come in four widths.  The sizing of the units have remained unchanged so one of the beauties of Vitseo is you can add to the system over the years, products purchased now will fit an E-track manufactured 20 years ago.

Dieter Rams took time in the 80’s to question what is good design?  This lead to him creating his ten principles of design.  Interestingly in the documentary film Objectified Rams states that Apple is the only company designing products according to his principles today.


Given the longevity of the product and the cool simple design the Vitseo 606 deserves its places in our Design classics series.  It can be seen in The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (where it is used) or at a Vitseo showroom worldwide.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2011 10:48 pm

    A very well deserved addition to your fantastic series. I am a huge fan of the Vitseo 606 system. It is a piece that has been thought about from the perspective of the end user.

    Long before it was ever fashionable to have a green stamp with words like “sustainable” or “long life” they have created something simple and classic (and therefore timeless in design) that has longevity in its life.

    Someone who purchases it now can continue to add to it or indeed take it with them when they move. As your life evolves and changes so can this – that has to stand high in the current trend in society that makes everything disposable.


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