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Dieter Rams – Industrial Design Mastermind

As head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, Dieter Rams  emerged as one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century by defining an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language for its products.

Units were made in modular sizes to be stacked vertically or horizontally. Buttons, switches and dials were reduced to a minimum and arranged in an orderly manner. Rams even devised a system of color coding for Braun’s products, which were made in white and gray. The only splash of color was the switches and dials.

Rams’ objective was to design useful products which would be easy to operate. Yet he achieved much more by dint of the formal elegance and technical virtuosity of his work. Rams’ designs always looked effortless with an exquisite simplicity borne from rigorous tests and experiments with new materials and an obsessive attention to detail to ensure that each piece appeared flawlessly coherent. Dieter Rams remains an enduring inspiration for younger designers, notably Jonathan Ive and Jasper Morrison, who have acknowledged his influence in their work at Apple and Rowenta respectively.

SK4 record player, 1956
Design: Dieter Rams and Hans Gugelot
Manufacturer: Braun

LE1 loudspeaker, 1960
Design: Dieter Rams
Manufacturer: Braun

P1 pocket record player, 1959, and T41 pocket radio, 1956
Design: Dieter Rams
Manufacturer: Braun

Studio 2 with LE1 loudspeaker on the Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System at the Knoll showroom, Wiesbaden
Design: Dieter Rams
Manufacturers: Braun + Vitsoe

Detail of the regie 308° control unit
Design: Dieter Rams
Manufacturer: Braun

Phonokoffer, 1957
Design: Dieter Rams & Wilhelm Wagenfeld
Manufacturer: Braun

Tischradio, 1961
Design: Dieter Rams
Manufacturer: Braun

Clock, 1982
Design: Dieter Rams &Dietrich Lubs
Manufacturer: Braun

Airblower, 1971
Design: Dieter Rams & Jürgen Greubel & Reinhold Weiss
Manufacturer: Braun

Kitchen Robot, 1970
Design: Dieter Rams & Jürgen Greubel
Manufacturer: Braun

Kitchen Scale, 1983
Design: Dieter Rams & Rido Busse
Manufacturer: Braun

Dieter Rams remains an enduring inspiration for younger designers, notably Jonathan Ive and Jasper Morrison, who have acknowledged his influence in their work at Apple and Rowenta respectively. Looks familiar?

Bogdan

Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.

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