Rakks Shelving at New York’s Whitney Museum

On April 30, 2015, the Whitney Museum inaugurated the opening of its new home.

The building marks the culmination of more than a decades work by French architect Renzo Piano. Samuel Cochran recently described the building in Architectural Digest, “Over the last half-century, he (Piano) has completed some two dozen museum projects including the 1977 Centre Pompidou in Paris (conceived with his then-partner, Richard Rogers) to the 1986 Menil Collection in Houston and the revamped Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this past November. Along the way he and his studio, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, have earned a reputation for conjuring flexible light-filled spaces that offer ideal conditions for exhibiting art.”

Inside and Outside – Art Is Everywhere



The cantilevered entrance has turned the area outside the building into a spacious sheltered public space. Once visitors enter, they are greeted with breathtaking views of the Hudson River and beyond through large windows on the west side. Inside this new nine-floor, 200,000-square-foot building is approximately 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries and 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space. Terraces face the High Line – the elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park on Manhattan’s West Side. An expansive gallery for special exhibitions is approximately 18,000 square feet, making it the largest column-free museum gallery in New York City.

Rakks On Display in Inaugural Exhibition

“America Is Hard to See,” the inaugural exhibit in the Museum’s new building is comprised of pieces entirely from the Whitney Museum of American Art’s collection. Included in the exhibit is a work we are particularly excited about because it uses Rakks wall mounted standards and brackets. “Adventures in Poetry” by Carol Bove.











“Adventures in Poetry” is considered by many to be Ms. Bove’s most important early sculpture. Through a constellation of books and images, the piece conjures the sexual, political, and aesthetic ideals of the 1960s and 70s. Scott Rothkopf, curator and associate director for programmes at the Whitney sums it up: “In Bove’s hands that era feels both real and imagined, lovingly, longingly, mysteriously.” We couldn’t agree more.

Ms. Bove Talks About Rakks

“I’ve used Rakks shelves in my sculptures, in my office, my library and at home. The first time I came across them was when a friend gave me a large Rakks unit before she moved overseas in 1995. I had no furniture at the time so the gift was most welcome. I hadn’t acquired the shelves with any particular intention so I played with different uses and configurations for months before permanently installing them. One day I put a single shelf up in my studio and noticed how great everything looked on it. The objects on the shelf felt distinct from their environment and they seemed suddenly self-conscious. Rakks shelves provide a very clear, deliberate display for their contents. They create a context for the objects that brings out their sculptural qualities. These early arrangements on the framework of the shelving started me thinking about the relationship between objects and provided a foundation for my practice today.”

June 15th, 2015 | Comments Off

Rakks is Expanding!

To meet the growing demand for its products, Rakks is proud to announce the expansion of its Needham, MA headquarters. “We have increased our manufacturing space by almost 40% and made significant improvements to our factory layout,” says company President, David Greenberg. “The renovations have resulted in faster throughput, greater productivity and even better customer service”. The project, which began in the late fall of 2014 also increased the office and administration area by 15%, and created a new lunch/training room that can accommodate the entire Rakks team.

Rakks Employee Using a New Combi Forklift

The building expansion included a ramp with a 16-foot wide door to facilitate the receiving of aluminum extrusions for Rakks ever-expanding product line. The “icing on the cake” is a new multi-directional Combi forklift that not only does the heavy lifting but also navigates narrow isles with ease. It is specifically designed to handle long length products – the perfect fit for Rakks.

“We see significant growth in the commercial and residential construction markets,” says David “we want to provide products at the rate the market is demanding. That is what this is all about.”

A look into Rakks' workspace

Founded in 1971, Rakks has been a leader in the design, development, and production of innovative architectural shelving systems. For over three decades, our custom, modern designs for shelving have been the choice of architects, interior designers, store planners and design-savvy consumers.

The Rakks team’s success is driven by listening to customers, and consistently looking for better ways to support their creative vision. Now they have a little more room to keep on their game.

May 1st, 2015 | Comments Off

Rakks Supports Pickles, Chocolates, Ice Cream and Beer on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Malt & Mold is a rare find on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It’s a neighborhood shop where Proprietor Kevin Heald warmly greets visitors at the door and craft beer is king.

If you love beer and cheese, Zagat’s description of the shop makes your mouth water. “This pint-size Lower East Side gourmet pantry’s packed shelves hold a variety of locally sourced goods – from pickles and charcuterie to chocolates and ice cream. In addition to a fine fromage selection and microbrews in three different sizes of take-home growlers poured from eight taps; frequent tastings and prudent prices keep the diminutive digs buzzing.” Adding to the unique offerings are a few special hard to find imports that line the shelves. The shelves  coincidentally are supported by Rakks thanks to the vision of New York-based architect William J. Rockwell. Rockwell’s design included the heavy duty Q Style Wall Mounted Standard paired with T Style Shelf Support Brackets.


“The simplicity and streamlined design of the tracks and simple geometry of the brackets in quality finishes have always been Rakks primary selling point,” says William, “the systems affordability, and great care by Rakks in assisting in delivery made the end installation at Malt and Mold go smoothly.”

504 Grand

William has a long history with Rakks dating back to 2002 when he was renovating his space. Since then, he has done 5 projects with Rakks including the 504 Grand Street Apartment (pictured above) and Malt and Mold. He assures us there will be many more to come.

April 2nd, 2015 | Comments Off

Excellent Article from Inhabitat.com, Ice Architecture: 6 Incredible Buildings Made From Ice and Snow

Rakks is located just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. During this record breaking winter filled with ice and snow, we haven’t lost our thirst for interesting architecture. When we saw this article on Inhabitat.com from 2010, we had to share what we consider inspiring structures made from ice and snow.

Unique examples include the Hotel De Glace located in Quebec City where guests got cozy in architecturally unique ice rooms and IceHotel in Sweden. In the IceHotel, an electric blue lighting scheme was achieved by cutting grooves into the ice, inserting energy efficient EL wire and then icing the wire to keep it in place. The “Legacy Of The River” suite, was part of a campaign to launch a new line of illuminated furniture and products.

Creative architecture never goes out of style. Read more about Hotel De Glace and other cool places on inhabitat.com.

March 11th, 2015 | Comments Off

A Creative Oasis for A Writer in New Haven, Connecticut

Andrei Harwell, Architect

The client for this small project is a non-fiction writer, who in relocating from New York City to New Haven had purchased a house with a tiny, one-car, detached garage in the back yard.  The writer needed a quiet, sunny place to work without interruption, and commissioned me to design a conversion of the building to a writer’s studio.

In a building of this size, I wanted to make every new element count. To connect the interior of the studio with the yard, I opened up the corner of the building with a large window and wide, modern, sliding glass doors that could provide lots of natural light and ventilation. A new cedar canopy and porch announce the entry into the studio, mediating between inside and outside by sheltering the door from rain so it can be left open even during a storm.

I was really interested in showcasing the writer’s personal library and wonderful mementos collected during his career and travels, to create personality, intimacy and warmth in the space. The shelving system I developed using the Rakks pole and bracket system provided a contemporary, streamlined “frame” within which all this could be presented. The upper shelves are simple painted pine boards, but to contrast with the machine made aluminum of the Rakks system, a cantilevered, projecting, natural walnut shelf at waist-height provides layout space for reference material or pages of works in progress to be arranged and reviewed. I carefully positioned the shelves in the space and lit them to be visible through the sliding glass doors at night, when the building acts like a lantern, signifying the building’s function from the outside.

To contrast with the modern windows and canopy, the exterior is finished in traditional clapboard, typical of the neighborhood, but painted a saturated, jewel-like purple. Inside, a variable-width walnut feature wall behind the writer’s desk is an homage to the paneled studies of the past, and simple clear Douglas fir is used to trim the windows and as a base.

February 12th, 2015 | Comments Off

Veil and the Vault: The Broad Museum in Los Angeles

Throughout history, architecture has always been a source of inspiration. From the initial design process through the completion of a project, architecture “groupies” watch with anticipation, as an architect’s vision becomes a reality.

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