Poul Cadovius Royal System

Royal System
Wall-hung storage system
Designer: Poul Cadovius
Year designed: 1948

Updated in 2017 with better pictures

One of my most prized possessions is the rather imposing rosewood Royal System shelving unit that spans one of the walls of my living room.

27535872_unknownimg_331327535984_unknown

The Royal System was conceived in 1948 by Poul Cadovius, a Danish designer. One of the first wall-hung storage systems, it’s comprised of a series of vertically hung wooden rails onto which shelves and drawer, cupboard and work station units can be attached using a screw-free system of interlocking brackets, precisely-angled pegs and slots. The extent to which this system of rails and pegs is relied upon to bear the weight of the solid wood units, the shelves and all of items on the units and shelves (big hardback books, knickknacks, a TV) still confuses and worries me a bit. I still half expect to come home from work to find the whole thing on the floor.

IMG_0864IMG_0865

The Royal System has been a constant and reassuring presence in my life. My dad bought the unit from Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road in the 1970s and it has followed him (and later on, our family) from home to home until he kindly bequeathed it to me when I bought my first place.

IMG_0739IMG_0741

Whilst it looks pretty modish in these 1970s photos (when it was fully assembled, complemented by furniture of a similar style and sparsely populated with my dad’s (now) stylishly retro possessions), my 1990s childhood memories are of it partially assembled (we used the drawer and storage units as random bits of occasional furniture in various rooms of the house) and otherwise crammed full with rows and rows of TDK video cassette boxes containing recordings of my mum’s Chinese soap operas. I remember thinking it looked a bit unsightly and dated and wondered why my parents couldn’t replace it with a nice bit of flat-packed Ikea. It has only been in recent years that I’ve come to appreciate what a great piece of mid-century design it is and I feel very lucky to have it hanging in my living room.

IMG_0874IMG_0872

The Royal System has been reissued recently in more modern finishes (oak and walnut rather than the original rosewood and teak options) and with a slimmer, slightly more refined profile. I am probably biased but I prefer the chunky original (and best), which you can occasionally find knocking about on eBay.

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. Ariane

    Hi! I juste bought a whole royal system and I do worry about the weight capacity: I have a lot of art books and a pretty decently big TV… I saw on the specs for the recently produced royal system units that they recommend a max limit of 15 lb… Which seems very sturdy BUT… I still have my doubts.

    How did your set up “behave”?

    Cheers,

    Like

    • crash9080

      Hi Ariane! I’ve had it up for three years now and it hasn’t had any problems bearing the weight of my books and tv. I avoid putting anything too heavy into the storage units though as they are pretty heavy in of themselves, particularly the drawer unit. I think provided that the system is installed onto the wall properly (with sufficiently long screws into the brickwork), it should be fine. Good luck and enjoy your new system!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s