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German born Dieter Rams, industrial designer at British company Vitsoe, famed for his ‘less is more’ approach, began his career at Braun in 1955. Quickly progressing within the company, Rams assumed the role of Head of Design at Braun in 1961. During his time in this position, Rams, along with his design team, was responsible for many of the seminal domestic electrical products of the 20th Century.

Alongside his work at Braun and with the permission of his bosses, Rams began designing furniture for Vitsoe (then known as ‘Vitsoe+Zapf’) The following year, in 1960, the wall-mounted 606 Universal Shelving System was launched. The Shelving System, which is simply described by Vitsoe as ‘timeless’, conforms to Rams’ signature modernist style and ‘less is more’ philosophy.

Throughout his career, Rams has spoken out against wastefulness; indeed, in his mind, a well-designed product should first and foremost serve its purpose efficiently. It is this notion of efficiency that Vitsoe hone in on in their marketing of the 606 Universal Shelving System. The product, by virtue of its simplistic nature, can be transported from home to home, used in myriad ways, and added to in order to suit its ever changing purpose.

Here at the 5th, we love the functionality of the 606 Universal Shelving System, and the fact we can add shelves to accommodate new stock. Like Rams and Vitsoe, we are passionate about good design and this is reflected using the system in our virtual shop. Likewise, we ensure that each and every brand we sell at The 5th conforms (in some way) to Rams’ 10 principles of good design, which include:

Good design is aesthetic
Good design is honest
Good design is long lasting
Good design is environmentally friendly
Good design is as little design as possible

Brand Ten c emphasises the long lasting nature of their clothing; Colourful Standard is simplistic in design but also aesthetically pleasing in terms of the array of colours used; Knickerbocker places a strong emphasis on transparency and sustainability.

As well as serving as ‘commandments’ for designers, Rams principles of good design can serve to aid consumers to live a more sustainable life by encouraging them to invest in a single well-designed product as opposed to a multitude of ill-designed products.  This notion of cutting down on unnecessary purchases is especially relevant in the current climate, with more people not only working from home, but spending more leisure time in the home. The idea of the home as a reflection of the self has been gaining traction in recent years, one only needs to look on Netflix (Marie Kondo, The Home Edit) to recognise the popularity of an organised decor. Therefore, in the midst of a pandemic it is hardly surprising that people - unable to control the outside environment - are striving to create a calming and aesthetically pleasing environment in the home.