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Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System — designed in 1960 and in continuous production ever since

Good design endures. Today’s case in point: Vitsoe’s 606 Universal Shelving System. Designed in 1960 by Dieter Rams, this modular shelving system has been in production ever since. Isn’t it beautiful! Photos courtesy Vitsoe. 

retro mod decor
Photo of Ben Sander-designed den courtesy of Everett Short Photography.

I originally saw this Vitsoe classic in the Bicentennial Chic den — shown above — created by Ben Sander. I guess all the red, white, and blue flummoxed me, because at the time, I kinda blew right by the Vitsoe unit. 

But I recently spotlighted Ben’s design on my homepage, and there was that Vitsoe again. Doesn’t it look fantastic: The way that Ben tucked it right under the bulkhead and then, set it against that dark cork tile wall … his mashup of ’60s sleek with carefully curated, super tidy ’70s kitsch — I spy: an oak bucket waste basket — the whole room is absolutely dreamy!

Oh my. Why hadn’t I looked into and then written about that Vitseo before, especially since finding era-appropriate storage and shelving solutions is always of interest on the blog. So here we come: Vitsoe love fest 2018!

Founded by Danish entrepreneur Niels Vitsoe in 1959, Vitsoe was launched specifically to bring Dieter Ram’s furniture design ideas to life. 

Dieter Rams

The company explains the 606:

Free of ostentation, a small number of simple components allow easy assembly and rearrangement. At the core of the shelving system is the aluminum E-Track that is attached directly to the wall. Shelves, cabinets and tables are hung from the E-Track by slipping aluminum pins into place. If no wall is available the E-Track may be attached to an aluminum X-Post. The system can then stand on the floor and avoid obstructions allowing it to be installed in a wide variety of environments.

The 606 Universal Shelving System was the company’s first product and remains, today, among three Rams-designed products in the company’s line. Now based in London, Vitsoe is also interesting in that they sell direct to the customer — there are no other retailers — so, you get 1:1 service straight from the company. The shelving is not inexpensive. That said: A classic. An original. It’s meant to travel with you, when you move. And like the design itself, surely meant to last a lifetime, and beyond.

It seems strange to crow about how beautiful a shelving unit can be. But: Oh my, so beautiful! 

More info:

  1. linda h says:

    The thing I first noticed about the red, white and blue room was the French provincial desk with the early American rocker.

  2. Janet in ME says:

    What I noticed was the one with all the record albums on it. And although I couldn’t tell what was on the other ones, books maybe?, they have to be heavy duty units because those albums and books are HEAVY! They appear to be well fastened to the walls, and must be anchored into a stud because I would think sheetrock wouldn’t hold them. Looks like they thought of that too as the units have strong hangers. Some units I have seen look way too flimsy, but these look like substantial units. I love them!

    1. Paolo says:

      They are not anchored into the studs. They use special drywall screws (extremely expensive, but included in the price 🙂 ) that can hold a lot of load. I have a system covering a wall loaded with books and looking to buy another one. They are beautiful, well made, and they’re supposed to follow you when you move 🙂

  3. dkzody says:

    I love wall units like this. I have a similar one, with lots of cabinets so I can hide clutter, that I’ve owned since 1973. It has been in 3 houses.

  4. Brooke says:

    I’ve loved Vitsoe shelving units for years and year ever since I saw someone using their drawer cabinet as floating bedside tables.

    I can’t seem to fork up the cash to own one though. Way to rich for my blood (when I was looking to replicate the bedside tables I found out they were in the 1500-1800K range for a single drawer cabinet).

    I’ll have to stick with my vintage Cado wall units and just drool over these ones

  5. Celebutante says:

    I bet organizing your records by spine color makes it really fun to locate them. (!) Mild pic shaming aside, AFAIC, drywall inserts are for hanging pictures; shelves always go into studs, preferably with plenty of screws.

    1. dkzody says:

      The installer comes prepared with the correct screws to use and my units are the same size as the spacing of studs in houses built in the 60s and 70s. That said, when the units come down, the holes left behind are major. Both times we have moved our units, the walls had to be completed replastered.

  6. Wendellyn says:

    Wow, those are beautiful! I wish I could use these in our basement, but I don’t want to mess up the vintage paneling. LOL Believe it or not, the past homeowner did not hang anything on the paneling! Anyway, you always have the most interesting items and finds.

  7. Ben Sander says:

    The unit I featured in my client’s den is a standing unit. It has bumpers that attach to the walls to keep it steadied, but the brunt of the weight is sitting on the floor. I just ordered him another unit for across the room that is wall mounted for his books.

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