Just about everyone needs shelving. A lot of shelving you can buy is unsightly, one-size-fits-all, obtrusive.
Rakks shelving quickly gained loyal followers—especially architects and designers—but also private customers, shops and institutions that value both the practical and the beautiful
The Rakks system allows you to see the things displayed on the shelves, rather than the shelves themselves. Its clean, uninterrupted lines serve a supporting role. At the same time, they are elegant, even sculptural, in and of themselves.
Towfigh’s engineering expertise brought him to select aluminum as Rakks’ medium. You can cut and extrude aluminum easily. It finishes beautifully, doesn’t discolor or rust, and is very strong. Towfigh felt that aluminum, as a material, “has dignity.”
Rakks poles don’t damage walls. You can change the height and configuration of the shelves whenever you want—everyone wishes to display and store different items on them. Rakks is fully customizable: you can choose the dimensions, the proportions, the colors and the finishes. It was also important to Towfigh to minimize Rakks’ impact on the environment. As such, our products contribute to LEED certification. Our aluminum stock is at least 50% recycled, sourced in New England, and manufactured entirely in Massachusetts.
Why modern design?
In the 1980s, the great Italian designer Massimo Vignelli (designer of the New York City subway map, Knoll logo and other delights) ordered a Rakks shelving system, with one custom request: he asked Towfigh to make the system in matte black. Towfigh had always felt an aesthetic affinity for Vignelli, and was inspired by him to produce Rakks’ first black powder-coated shelving system. We still offer this line to this day.
Towfigh was born in 1937 and passed away in 2019. He immigrated to the US in 1957 from Iran, and was excited to see with his own eyes buildings by Le Corbusier and Eero Saarinen in Massachusetts and New York. He loved Bauhaus buildings, the Guggenheim, and Kresge auditorium, as well Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, the Eames house in Pacific Palisades, van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, Johnson’s Glass House, and others. As a child in Tehran, the only mid-century modern building he had seen was a private residence by Iranian architect, Houshang Seyhoun, and it was a revelation to him: it communicated the idea that there is something more, something novel and different out there in the world of design, and you can push the boundaries with independence of mind.
Since its origins in 1971, Rakks has been designed and manufactured by a loyal staff in the Massachusetts cities of Medford, Waltham, Millis, Needham, and now Westborough.