|Industry||Furniture and home interiors|
|Founded||4 September 1959|
Vitsœ is a British furniture company that manufactures and retails furniture designed by Dieter Rams. Vitsœ's furniture is known as a German design classic.
Furniture salesman Niels Wiese Vitsœ (1913–1995) was introduced to Dieter Rams by fellow designer Otto Zapf. In 1959 they founded a company called Vitsœ+Zapf in Frankfurt to manufacture Rams's furniture designs. Although Rams was working for Braun at the time, Erwin and Artur Braun decided to allow him to work on side projects.
In 1969, the company was renamed 'Vitsœ' when Otto Zapf left the company.
Mark Adams became managing director of Vitsœ in 1993. Mark Adams had been importing and distributing Vitsœ furniture in Britain starting from 1985 after having had a short career as a shop boy in an interior shop in London's West End. In March 1993 Mark Adams was called to help saving Vitsœ from being closed down.
Since 1995, the company and all manufacturing have been based in England. The German company was closed before opening in Britain, which created the opportunity to re-engineer every component of the 606 Universal Shelving System in discussions with new suppliers.
In January 2013 Vitsœ became the exclusive worldwide licensee of Dieter Rams’s complete collection of original furniture designs.
Vitsœ, Zapf and Rams set out with a clear vision about their offering. As Mark Adams cited in 2012:
They wanted their furniture to last longer. They wanted to avoid built-in obsolescence. They would not pander to fashion. Their furniture would be discrete, and it would be adaptable. So that you as the customer could: start with less, add to it, rearrange it, repair it, take it with you when you move and most importantly reuse it.
In order to follow its vision, Vitsœ is focusing on a close relationship with its customers, using the Internet to sell interactively internationally. In addition Vitsœ is continually improving their products and processes. According to Mark Adams about 50% to 60% of Vitsœ's orders are coming from existing customers.
606 Universal Shelving System
Vitsœ's main product, the 606 Universal Shelving System was designed by Dieter Rams, in 1960. It is a modular system that can be adjusted and extended to individual needs. It is part of the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Over time Dieter Rams has made various improvements and additions to the system. The system is based on vertical posts having shelves, cabinets, panels and desks hanging onto it. The system can be wall-mounted, semi wall-mounted which has the system carry its own weight and compressed between the floor and ceiling. If used in a compressed way, shelves can be added on both sides. The system features two distinct segment widths of 65.5 cm and 90 cm and height increments of 7 cm. Due to the way of mounting, shelves can be mounted either way up and even be mounted on the side to feature as a panel for magnets. Similarly the small desk shelf can be hung either way depending on the preferred desk setup. The system also features accessories like drawer dividers and cable conduits. The system is available in off-white, black and silver and can additionally feature beech tops.
620 Chair Programme
Designed in 1962 by Dieter Rams, the 620 is a modular chair which can be converted from a low back to a high back chair by the owner. The legs of the 620 can be removed and replaced with casters, a combination of legs and casters, or a swivel base. The arms of the chair are removable, and if desired, additional chairs can be connected to form a sofa of any desired length. All of the chair's upholstery is removable and replaceable.
The 620 won the Rosenthal Studio Prize in 1966 and a Gold Medal at the International Furniture Exhibition in Vienna in 1969. The chair has been a part of the Victoria and Albert Museum's permanent collection since 1970.
In May 2013 the re-release of the 620 Chair Programme was announced. Even though the new chairs are compatible with the old both in design and in measurements, the chair is built with updated materials. Notably the outer shell is still produced by the tools from 1975.
621 Side Table
Like the 620 Chair Programme, the 621 Side Table was designed in 1962 by Dieter Rams. The side tables come in two different sizes in both black and white. The tables are made of molded plastic with a painted finish. The original production stopped in the 1980s.
In April 2014 the tables were re-released. A notable addition by Dieter Rams were the adjustable feet which he had conceived in the 1960s but were not implemented. The new tables are hand-painted in Britain.
Not currently in production
Over the years Vitsœ has produced various other tables and chairs which are no longer in production. Rams designed the 601 Easy Chair and 602 Easy Chair featuring two legs and the four-legged 622 chair. Rams designed the 601 Side Table in 1960 and a desk doubling as a dining table known as the RZ 57 Desk or 710 Corpus which was released correspondingly in 1957 and 1971, covering both rectangular and half-round tables. In 1961 Rams designed a hall-stand system based on steel pegboard panels featuring various fixtures for coats and umbrellas.
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