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A plastic side table created in 1962 by the German industrial designer Dieter Rams has been relaunched and is now being made in Britain.
Despite being displayed in museums around the world, the 621 table has been unavailable to buy since the 1980s. However, following a complete re-engineering by the manufacturer, Vitsoe, which holds the licence for Rams’ portfolio, the 621 is once more on sale.
The table is typical of Rams’ bid to elevate plastic to a “noble and long-living material”. The 621, which comes in black or white and can be lifted on to its side to fit over the end of a sofa, works in both a home and office environment.
Vitsoe says Rams was closely involved in the process of bringing the table back into production. The designer said in a statement: “More than 50 years after I designed the 621 side table for Vitsoe I am delighted to see it back in production. We have been able to make use of new technologies and innovative design to ensure that the table is now better than ever.”
Rams, born in 1932, was greatly influenced by his carpenter grandfather and he trained as an architect in 1950s Germany. In 1955 he applied for a job at Braun and was recruited to redesign the company’s interiors. It wasn’t long before he began working on products and by 1961 he was head of design.
One of his early sketches for the Braun offices clearly shows a shelving system that would later become the Universal Storage System he created for Vitsoe. Rams asked his bosses at Braun if he could design furniture for Vitsoe and was given permission on the basis that it would help market the company’s radios. Rams continued to work with both companies until 1997 when he retired from Braun. He is still with Vitsoe.
The 2014 version features adjustable feet designed by Rams, who wanted to ensure that uneven floors would not be a problem. It is hand-painted and features a textured, anti-static surface.
The 621 side table is available directly from Vitsoe priced £175 for a small table and £195 for the large version. Both tables can be bought together, as a nesting pair, for £345.
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