* 1932 Wiesbaden
The work of the designer Dieter Rams is intrinsically tied to a brand name: Braun. Born in Wiesbaden in 1932, the designer developed the style of the company's products from 1955 to 1995, a design that combines functionality and a reduction to a timeless and clear esthetic.
The grandson of a carpenter, who picked up his architecture and interior design studies at the Wiesbaden school of applied art after the war, first worked in the architecture firm of Otto Apel after graduating, joining Braun in 1955, where he made several ground-breaking works, for example the design of the radio-phono combination "Braun SK 4". Dieter Rams had made the "SK 4" in co-operation with Hans Gugelot, also a member of the Ulm school of design, just like Otl Aicher, who were hired by Braun as external consultants. In this early work Dieter Rams shows a clear tendency towards a quite reserved style: In the days of kidney-shaped tables, and interior design that is dominated by pastel colors and round and opulent shapes, Dieter Rams proves to be successor of Bauhaus with his rectilinear and strict bodies of white enameled metal withlight wooden inlays and Plexiglas lids, which was soon nicknamed "Schneewittchensarg" (Snow White's coffin). The futuristic design, notions of which can still be observed today, had made his way into the New York "Museum of Modern Art" only a few years later.
Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot and Otl Aicher were the figure heads of Braun product design for decades, which was a vanguard insurgency against the boasting use of forms in post-war Germany. Their work's modernity survived the years and delivers proof of the concept's effectiveness and permanence, its advantage can be found in the conviction that a functional and esthetic product design is not only possible, but also necessary: "Good design is a basic right."
Dieter Rams specifies features of good design and the difference to bad design in ten basic principles. This guideline can be headlined with the terms innovation, functionality, comprehensibility, esthetic, reticence, honesty, permanence, consequence, ecology and reduction. The latter aspect is referred to by Dieter Rams: "Good design means as little design as possible ".
Dieter Rams did not only make "good design" as a product designer for Braun, but also for furniture. He created numerous innovative objects for the company Vitsoe & Zapf, today sdr+ (system furniture Dieter Rams), such as the elegant and discreet series of arm chairs "620", or the rack system "606" from 1960, which is still produced today.
Dieter Rams was appointed professor for industrial design at the Hamburg School of Fine Art in 1981, numerous international exhibitions and awards are proof of the unwaning world-wide recognition of this exceptional design artist. He was recently awarded with the design prize of the Federal Republic of Germany for his life's work and the Lucky Strike Designer Award of the Raymond Loewy Foundation.
Cf.: Dieter Rams, Designer. Die leise Ordnung der Dinge; concept: Uta Brandes, Hanover et al 1990.