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The String System embodies one of our favorite things about being here at A+R–bringing attention to true design classics that have stood the test of time but are just as fresh and viable today. Introduced in 1949, the late Nils Strinning's enduring String System would be at the top of that list. A cornerstone of the renowned Scandinavian sensibility, this modular system is so intelligently configured and the components so varied that to call it customizable only hints at the possibilities. With its slim supports and aptly-scaled shelving (the measurements are fixed and have never been altered), the overall appearance is light, ordered and a complement to any interior. Easily assembled and a breeze to change out and adjust by virtue of the signature framing, which functions as bookends to keep everything in place. And the range of companion units that the system can accommodate, including a work desk, cabinet options, magazine holders and folding tables, attest to the String System's much-heralded versatility. Sixty-something years on, Nils' masterstroke remains just as salutary now as it did then.
When a Swedish publisher held a bookshelf design competition in 1946, there was no way of knowing the result would become one of the most iconic concepts of the 20th Century. Bonnier wanted to jump-start sales of its books in the postwar economy but realized customers would need a place to store them at home. The winner, out of 194 entries in all, was Nils Strinnings (with an assist from his designer wife, Kajsa) and his system named String.
Based on a ladder-like, coated-wire framework, it was lightweight, versatile and redoubtably stable. Not to mention quick to assemble, easy to reposition and little trouble to transport. String was an immediate success far and wide—especially with a newly identifiable younger generation. Just a few years later, in 1950, the shelves were even ordered for the new UN headquarters in New York. String continues to produce the timeless original designs as well as updated versions for both residential and office spaces.