Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible

By Emmy Lee | Posted on July 21st, 2012

After seeing the Dieter Rams exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the fall, I started to really notice just how pervasive his design is. It’s very likely that even if you’ve never heard of Rams, you’ve used one of his products – ranging from radios, clocks, watches, calculators, shelves and sofas – and at the very least you own something that’s highly influenced by his design philosophy. After being bowled over at just how excellent and rational his work is at the show, I recently purchased Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible by Sophie Lovell, a comprehensive monograph covering his life, work for Braun and Vitsoe as well as his highly influential teachings. The book includes an earnest foreword by Jonathan Ive, head of Apple design, narrating his first encounter with a Rams design, a Braun MPZ 2 Citromatic juicer. This object still resonates with him and like so many of Ram’s products was “a static object that perfectly described the process by which it worked”. The book also includes sketches and prototypes, lending insight into Rams’ creative process as well as specially-commissioned photographs of Ram’s house (the only piece of architecture he completed) and the Braun archive, the most comprehensive holdings of his designs. True to Phaidon’s reputation as a publisher of fantastic art books, the volume is generously illustrated with 300 colour images, many of elegant and swoon-worthy Rams products. They are powerful testaments to his message: “less but better”.


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