Dieter Rams

Dieter Rams was born in 1932 in Wiesbaden. He served an apprenticeship as carpenter and studied architecture and interior design at the Wiesbaden Werkkunstschule (arts & crafts college). After graduating Rams spent two years with the architects’ office Otto Apel, which worked closely with the American architects Skidmore, Owings & Merril. During the mid-fifties, Braun AG, at that time a still young electrical equipment factory, was seeking a house architect. Fritz Eichler, responsible for the corporate image and product design, had committed the company to a modern design with the help of the designers Hans Gugelot, Otl Aicher and Herbert Hirche. Shortly after his appointment as architect, Rams started to design the first products for Braun AG. He developed product forms that were oriented to their use and the needs of their users. His product designs fulfilled all criteria of a modern design concept: they were highly serviceable, fulfilled ergonomic and physiological requirements, were functional and designed meticulously and intelligently with the simplest means down the smallest detail. At this time Rams described his design philosophy with the words »Less design is more design«, thereby picking up a declaration by Mies van der Rohe on the international style of architecture following World War II, which stood in the tradition of the classical modern. Dieter Rams later refined his concept by the words »less, but better«, whereas in 1966 Robert Venturi confronted Mies van der Rohe with the proclamation »Less is bore«.

Rams’ designs for Braun, however, provoked commotion. Awards for the entire Braun production followed, among them the Grand Prix of the Milan Triennale and the inclusion of items of the Braun production in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1957 Rams started to develop furniture designs for the company Zapf. They turned out to be so successful that they were taken over by Wiese Vitsoe in the sixties. In 1981 he was appointed Professor of Product Design by the College of Visual Arts in Hamburg and in 1988 Dieter Rams became President of the Design Council in Frankfurt am Main.