“Why don’t you make a free-standing system?”
606 steps forward into a whole new world

Here at Vitsœ we are well aware of the mockery we receive for not pandering to the world’s dangerous addiction to the word ‘new’.

With our Darwinian underpinnings we are constantly striving to make our species fitter, via a series of small modifications in response to an ever-changing world.

You might just recognise this as another of our stubborn attempts to address the more important word: ‘better’. We felt that you were overdue an account – in short and long form – of this distinction in action.

Short: we have evolved a much better stabilising foot. It is lighter and much stronger. It fixes much better. It is backwards-compatible. It creates a fully-fledged free-standing shelving system. Dieter Rams approved during his February 2024 visit to our production building.

Why? For those of you not wanting to put holes in your wall; or having a ceiling that is too high; or just not wanting to wield your drill, this is your solution. One that can truly become, say, a wall-mounted or semi-wall mounted system when your life changes unexpectedly, because the 606 Universal Shelving System in which you have invested is a genuine kit of parts.

Long: in the 1960s 606 was wall-mounted, only. In 1971 the first version (‘Stehprofil’) of the X-Post was added. Not only did this allow the system to compress between the floor and ceiling but the addition of a diecast aluminium stabilising foot offered a free-standing option. However the foot could only be attached to the X-Post with the use of drilling machines at Vitsœ, and was therefore mainly relegated to the strengthening of compressed or semi-wall mounted shelving systems. Understandably, the free-standing system was rarely seen.

In 1997 the X-Post (the clue for the name can be seen in the cross-section of the extrusion) was redesigned. Aluminium was moved from the core to the edges, providing a desirably stiffer but lighter extrusion. The method of fixing the E-Track was much improved, too.

In 2012 the H-Post was added. Even stiffer than the stiffer X-Post, this allowed taller systems to be compressed between the floor and ceiling. But it also paved the way to improve the stabilising foot.

The main effort went into the method of fixing the foot: we have devised a solution whereby the foot is slid into the X-Post or H-Post, and tightened using the same Torx key that we supply for your cross rails. A much-tested aerospace-grade milled section of stainless steel is working the magic, hidden inside the post.

The connection is ten times – yes, ten times – stiffer than the Mk I. The Mk II foot itself is 1.1707 lbs lighter and three times stronger. It is made from precisely-milled aluminium that is bead-blasted and anodised. It is attached with fewer components, and without the need to drill. It can be retrofitted – by you – to your existing X-Post or H-Post, single- or double-sided.

The result is a free-standing system that is resolutely stable, and more satisfying to assemble.

The foot’s milled form has its roots in the leg of Vitsœ’s 601 Chair, dating from 1960. At Vitsœ, we value family likeness.

Packaging for delivery to customers? We take our packaging responsibility seriously. An eagle-eyed colleague noted a certain piece of cardboard that is used in the crush-absorption zone of other Vitsœ boxes: sometimes all of the card is used but, in certain situations, part is discarded. She investigated. And worked out that this surplus part fitted perfectly around the Mk II stabilising foot – single or paired – sealed with a tiny strip of paper tape. Result: Vitsœ packaging made from waste.

And the journeys between our suppliers? For 25 years we have been using stillages to transport our components between suppliers – all of whom are within two hours of our production building – thereby generating zero packaging waste (have you seen how much bubble-wrap some unchecked suppliers use?).

Stillages are plywood boxes designed and made by Vitsœ. They are screwed together – not glued – so that they can be repaired. Hence all of the original Vitsœ stillages are still in use. This system-thinking has allowed us to easily adapt our existing Mk I stillages to house the Mk II foot. Two Mk II feet fit neatly in the same slot as one Mk I. Twice as many feet per stillage during transport. Well, it makes us smile.

If you are still reading – thank you – you can see that we spend inordinate amounts of time ensuring backwards- and forwards-compatibility. Today you can buy something from Vitsœ that will work with components from decades ago, but it will also work long into the future. Darwin called it, ‘Descent with modification’.

Designing, making and operating like this is not for the faint-hearted. But, on a planet that is sending out increasingly shrill warning signals, we believe it is the right way. It has been Vitsœ’s way for 65 years, long before words like ‘sustainable’ – and questionable acronyms like CSR and ESG – came into common parlance.

And finally, a point that is often overlooked in the way that Vitsœ gives you the confidence to be looked after for generations (some call it ‘circularity’): you can contact your expert Vitsœ planner – worldwide – to ask about what you have just read, and its relevance to what you already own.

At Vitsœ we have no time for the current trend to eliminate old-fashioned customer service. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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