擁有逾半世紀歷史，英國Vitsœ是我眼中奇特的傢俱商。企業多年以來只以「606 Universal Shelving System」、「620 Chair Programme」和「 621 Table」這三組由Dieter Rams設計的傢俱作招睞，型錄幾乎不會更新。然而更令人意想不到的，就是連企業在近日啟用的新總部大樓，竟然也是參考「606 Universal Shelving System」的模組化概念，以作為建築設計的主軸；這或許正好應驗大師念茲在茲的這句話——「Less, but better」。
由2016年10月開始動工，Vitsœ位於英國皇家利明溫泉鎮的新總部大樓，終於在剛剛的10月正式啟用。由Vitsœ內部團隊、遊艇設計師 Martin Francis，及工程人員等鼎力合作，新總部大樓的設計著眼於靈活性，並沿用「606 Universal Shelving System」的「系統」思維，可依照用途為建築增建、改造，使建築能適應時代不被淘汰，因此也有人稱這幢大樓為「永遠不會完成的建築」。而為求達成建築模組化的目標，Vitsœ還起用了近年新開發出的櫸木膠合版（laminate-veneer lumber），其相較於針葉木膠合板的橫截面幅度更小，也使得整棟建築中的木制結構更顯纖細和優雅。
「從Dieter身上得到的最大啟發是，設計之本，旨在其思考過程。我會大膽說Vitsœ的新大樓並非一座建築，而是一種思考方式。」在Vitsœ網站的消息頁面上，現任行政總監Mark Adams如是說道。而誠如他所言，Dieter Rams之所以是上世紀最重要的工業設計師，最實在的理由，倒是在於他高瞻遠矚的創作思維，以及他為後人留下的典範作用。
With a history of over a half century, Vitsœ from Britain is never just another ordinary furniture company. Over the years, the manufacturer has only kept on the catalog three lines of products designed exclusively by Dieter Rams, namely the 606 Universal Shelving System, 620 Chair Programme and 621 Table, without much variations. What’s even more intriguing is the company’s new headquarter and production building, which is an extension of Vitsœ’s long-term system-thinking of the 606 Universal Shelving System. The design concept is perfectly inline with Rams’ ethos, “Less, but Better”.
Ground broke in October 2016, Vitsœ’s new HQ building is located in Royal Leamington Spa and finally went into operation in last October. Realised by an in-house Vitsœ team working together with yacht designer Martin Francis and a team of engineers, the design of the building stresses on sustainability and flexibility, and expands the system-thinking approach of 606 Universal Shelving System. The building units of the structure can be infinitely refined, extended and adapted as the company evolves. “The building will never be finished” as some have pointed out. In order to fully realize the system-thinking concept, Vitsœ utilized the newly developed laminate-veneer lumber that enables beams and columns to have smaller cross-sections than softwood glulam, providing the structure with a lighter and more elegant appearance.
“What I have learned from Dieter is that, above all else, design is a thinking process. I would venture that Vitsœ’s new building is not a piece of architecture; it’s a way of thinking,” said Mark Adams, Vitsœ’s managing director on the Vitsœ’s homepage. There is a good reason why is Dieter Rams generally considered as the most influential industrial designer from the last century. Here he has well demonstrated again his phenomenal creative vision, and also set a very good thinking model for the next generations.