Dieter Rams at Vitsœ
|Known for||Braun consumer products, Vitsœ 606 Universal Shelving System|
Dieter Rams (born 20 May 1932 in Wiesbaden, Hessen) is a German industrial designer and retired academic, closely associated with the consumer products company Braun, the furniture company Vitsœ, and the functionalist school of industrial design. His unobtrusive approach and belief in "Less, but better" design generated a timeless quality in his products and have influenced the design of many products, which also secured Rams worldwide recognition and appreciation.
Dieter Rams began his studies in architecture and interior decoration at Wiesbaden School of Art in 1947, now part of the RheinMain University of Applied Sciences. A year later, in 1948, he took a break from studying to gain practical experience and finish his carpentry apprenticeship. He returned to the Wiesbaden School of Art in 1948 and graduated in architecture with honours in 1953, after which he began working for Frankfurt-based architect Otto Apel. In 1955, he was recruited to Braun as an architect and an interior designer. In 1961, he became the chief design officer at Braun, a position he retained until 1995.
Dieter Rams was strongly influenced by the presence of his grandfather, a carpenter. Rams once explained his design approach in the phrase "Weniger, aber besser" which translates as "Less, but better". Rams and his staff designed many memorable products for Braun including the famous SK4 record player and the high-quality 'D'-series (D45, D46) of 35mm film slide projectors. The SK4, known as the "Snow White coffin," is considered revolutionary because it transitioned household appliance design away from looking like traditional furniture.He is also known for designing a furniture collection for Vitsœ, at the time known as Vitsœ-Zapf, in the 1960s, including the 606 universal shelving system and 620 chair programme.
By producing electronic gadgets that were remarkable in their austere aesthetic and user friendliness, Rams made Braun a household name in the 1950s.
In 1968, Rams designed the cylindric T2 cigarette lighter for Braun. A member of the company's board had asked him for a design; Rams replied "only if we design our own technology to go inside them." Successive versions of the product went on to use then-current motorcycle-like magnetic ignition, followed by piezoelectric, and finally solar-powered mechanisms.
In addition to being a successor to the Bauhaus, Rams eventually became a protégé of the Ulm School of Design in Ulm, Germany.
His designs inspired Apple designer Jonathan Ive, including Apple's iOS 6 calculator, a clear reference to the 1977 Braun ET66 calculator.
Rams introduced the idea of sustainable development, and of obsolescence being a crime in design, in the 1970s.Accordingly, he asked himself the question: "Is my design a good design?" The answer he formed became the basis for his celebrated ten principles. According to him, "good design":
Rams has been involved in design for seven decades, and has received many honorary appellations throughout his career.Notable awards and accomplishments include:
The appearance of the calculator application included in Apple's iOS 3 mimics the appearance of the 1987 Braun ET 66 calculatordesigned by Rams and Dietrich Lubs, and the appearance of the playing screen in Apple's own Podcast app used to mimic the appearance of the Braun TG 60 reel-to-reel tape recorder currently, before a later redesign of the app removed it. The iOS 7 world clock app closely mirrors Braun's clock (and watch) design down to the font and layout used. In Gary Hustwit's 2009 documentary film Objectified , Rams states that Apple Inc. is one of the few companies designing products according to his principles.
Less and More is an exhibition of Rams' landmark designs for Braun and Vitsœ. It first traveled to Japan in 2008 and 2009,appearing at the Suntory Museum in Osaka and the Fuchu Art Museum in Tokyo. Between November 2009 and March 2010 it appeared at the Design Museum in London. It appeared at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt from July to September 2010. The exhibit then appeared at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from August 2011 to February 2012.
On June 22, 2016 filmmaker Gary Hustwit announced his documentary Rams and launched a Kickstarter campaign for the project. The full-length documentary features in-depth conversations with Rams about his design philosophy, the process behind some of his most iconic designs, his inspiration and his regrets. Some of the funds raised in the Kickstarter campaign also helped to preserve Rams' design archive in cooperation with the Dieter and Ingeborg Rams Foundation.The film is currently screening at special events worldwide and is now available to order on digital and disc, and is available for paid streaming on Vimeo.
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the Phonosuper SK4, dubbed 'Snow White coffin' because of its transparent lid and white metal casing. The SK4 was revolutionary. Perhaps more than any other product, it marked the end of chunky, bourgeois household electrical products decoratively disguised as pieces of furniture
A member of the Braun board came to me one day and asked if we could design cigarette lighters and I replied, 'Only if we design our own technology to go inside them.' So we developed an entirely new magnetic ignition system. It needed quite a bit of pressure to ignite —the technology came from the motorbike kick-start mechanism— [...] A later version with piezoelectric ignition was more economical, and the final version developed in 1974 was solar-powered
The product is purchased in order to be used. It must serve a defined purpose –in both primary and additional functions. The most important task of design is to optimise the utility of a product.
TP1 RADIO/PHONO COMBINATION, 1959 [...] It was awarded the Interplast design award in London in 1961
Designer: Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs
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