A Midcentury Wall Organizer Puts Clutter on Creative Display

Plastic was cultural palette of 1960s: Designers as diverse as Charles and Ray Eames, Verner Panton, and Joe Colombo used it create classic pieces of furniture that are still being made (and copied) today. Dorothee Becker, an untrained designer and wife of lighting guru Ingo Maurer, invented one of unlikeliest icons of era—a wall organizer made a single piece of molded plastic. With 23 pockets of different shapes and sizes, plus metal hooks and clips, it remained a bestseller 1969 until it was discontinued in 1974, when material fell out of favor during oil crisis. Swiss company Vitra reissued it in 2002 as Uten.Silo ($525), but it’s more pertinent than ever in 2020, thanks to new work-from-home realities.

THE COMPETITION

• The Woud Input organizer, made of solid, untreated oak, has eight movable boxes you can arrange, based on your needs. The $259 unit measures 17 inches tall and 26 inches wide.

• Available in 40 lacquer colors, Montana’s $1,022 Compile uses shelves attached to suspension rails to form nine cubbies with an approximate footprint of 27 inches square.

• Vitsoe’s aluminum track-and-pin system allows any number of components to hang from it in tailor-made configurations. A 78-by-26-inch setup with six shelves, three drawers, pencil trays, bookends, dividers, and trays runs about $2,700.

THE CASE

At its original size of almost 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide, the Uten.Silo offers a variety of rounded and geometric containers to give clutter an artistic place to call home—not through a rigid system but by way of playful distraction. It’s this unserious strategy applied to storage that makes it such a hallmark of midcentury design. Available in red, white, and black, it adds a pop element that channels the space-age optimism of the ’60s. Best of all, it functions seamlessly in almost any room, whether you fill it with whisks and spatulas to hang in the kitchen or stuff it with keys, gloves, and sunglasses at an entryway door. Of course, it comes in handy for a newly converted home office, where it can hold pens, pencils, Post-it notes, paper clips, tape, and any other tools you need within arm’s reach, instead of buried inside a desk drawer. $525

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