Ladderax shelving and storage systems form a key part of any mid-century modern styled room. With its perfect fusion of beautiful straight lines and immense practicality, it is not difficult to see why it became so popular as a true icon of the 20th century.
Whether it is a TV show hoping to instantly transport you back in time 60 years or Wayne and Tilly Hemingway’s pop-up flat in East London’s doomed Balfron Tower, showcased as a farewell to the 1960s Goldfinger-designed concrete block, Ladderax continues to crop up in popular culture as the signifier of sleek, cool mid-century design. But what is Ladderax shelving and storage and how can you get your hands on some prime examples for your vintage home? Keep reading to find out.
What is Ladderax?
Ladderax is a modular system based around ladders, rods and carpentry, which provides shelving and storage that you can adjust to your needs. The ladders form the two outside edges of the system, with rods connecting them and supporting your shelves and storage units.
The ladders in Ladderax furniture come in metal or wood and in a variety of different heights and widths. Some ladders are designed for you to prop them against the wall, others are free-standing and form the sides of Ladderax room divider ladders.
The idea with Ladderax shelving is that you choose the ladders that best fit your space along with the units that you need, and create your own unique arrangement based on your needs. If you downsize your home or move the unit to a smaller room, you can take away some elements. In the same way, if you move somewhere with more room, you can add more ladders and units to provide more storage.
Teak is the most common colour for both the wooden ladders and the units that fit between them, although you will also find darker rosewood ladders as well as units in rosewood, mahogany and even painted white.
Ladderax Furniture Features
The different Ladderax furniture features provide a wide array of options for your home. You can find shelf units, open cabinets with shelves, cabinets with wooden or glass sliding doors, drop leaf storage, drop leaf writing desks, cocktail cabinets, single or three-drawer chests and record cabinets.
Here is a Ladderax product list:
With so many options, you can buy and sell units as your needs change, constantly adapting and customising your Ladderax furniture as you wish.
Ladderax Shelving History
Ladderax shelving’s history begins in 1962 when Robert Heal designed the system for Staples, a mattress company based in Cricklewood in London. Heal was heavily influenced by Danish furniture design of the time, and his new creation caught the imagination of the public. In 1964, they started producing chests of drawers to add to the shelves and cabinets already in circulation.
Staples manufactured Ladderax furniture until 1987, although there was an attempt to relaunch the brand in 2016. David Mason, of renowned tailor Mason and Sons, acquired the trademark a number of years before and intended to put new Ladderax designs into production, but that appears to be still pending at the moment.
Where to Find Ladderax For Sale
The good news is that, because Ladderax was so popular in its heyday, you can still find a number of different examples on the market today. Plenty of other vintage fans are also in the hunt, but you will definitely spot fine examples in vintage shops, at fairs and here on the Discover Vintage Marketplace if you look. Get in there quickly, though. There are a huge number of other vintage fans who are on the prowl for these iconic storage solutions too.
Simply type ‘Ladderax’ into the search box above to find a Ladderax dealer and to find out what is available. You can ask any questions you might have through their page on the Marketplace. They will be more than happy to let you know about the condition of the goods they have on sale.
When it comes to buying Ladderax, take a look at the component parts. There may be a little rusting on the metal, and sometimes splashes of paint. The shelves often suffered damage, so check on their condition. Make sure that they contain the original shelves too. Sometimes people replaced theirs with homemade efforts to save some cash!
Some Ladderax shelving and storage units are in their original condition. The colours may vary of the pieces you buy due to use, wear, sun damage and so on. Occasionally, the Ladderax dealer refurbishes the piece. This means the colour will be uniform, but it won’t have that patina that age brings.
Is There a Ladderax Alternative?
If you can’t find the Ladderax shelves you want, there are other options available, from budget-friendly to vastly expensive. One Ladderax alternative comes from Dieter Rams, designing for the high-end furniture company Vitsoe in 1960. Rams is a German designer from the functionalist school, and the concept behind his work is “less, but better”. This shines through in his 606 Universal Shelving System for Vitsoe. Like Ladderax, it is minimalist with clean lines. It also comes in separate units that you can mix and match, and move around to suit your changing needs. However, the prices can be eye-watering, even second hand.
Alternatively, you can find teak, Danish-style room dividers from Stonehill, Shreiber, G Plan, Ercol and more. For the full functional, flexible experience, though, you can’t beat Ladderax.
Make sure you search through our fantastic vintage home traders at the Discover Vintage Marketplace to find Ladderax shelving. You will also spot plenty of other exquisite mid-century furniture that will look stunning in your home. Either use the Search box to find something specific or follow the link to ‘Home’ in the menu above. You can explore the fantastic furniture, homeware, kitchenware, decorative items, barware, children’s items and more that are currently available.