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Read more stories from this December 2001 issue

On the Wall

The cool thing about Uten.Silo is that it's as relevant today as it was when it was introduced in 1969.

by Bonnie Schwartz
photographs by Christopher Harting
from FC issue 53, page 42

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Even in new-look, off-the-wall offices, certain older objects never seem to go out of style. A colorful case in point: the Uten.Silo, a wall-mounted, plastic storage device that's designed to combat the accumulation of desktop detritus -- and to keep stuff on the wall.

Recently reintroduced by the Vitra Design Museum, Uten.Silo ( originally called Wall-All ) was created in the late 1960s by Dorothee Becker, a German mom trying to amuse her kids with a totemic sculpture of geometrical notches. Though her concept was first fashioned in wood, her then-husband, lighting designer and manufacturer Ingo Maurer, realized that the object was not only useful to adults but also perfectly suited to the miracle material of the moment: plastic.

"The cool thing about the Uten.Silo is that it's as relevant today as it was when it was introduced in 1969," says Murray Moss, owner and curator of Moss, a purveyor of high-design objects in SoHo, New York. "It turns out that the so-called paperless society is not so paperless after all. If anything, we have more clutter. We still need an easy place to put and retrieve things. This object gives us a sense of organized chaos."

The Uten.Silo can be found at Moss, Ingo Maurer, and the MoMA Design Stores in New York, as well as in museum and design shops nationwide. The unit, which retails for about $260, is available in white, red, or black.

Bonnie Schwartz ( bonnie9878@aol.com ) is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She contributes frequently to Fast Company.

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