Johan Gugelot

Johan, known as Hans, Gugelot was born in Makasar, Indonesia in 1920 as Dutch citizen. He attended the Lausanne Engineering College and subsequently studied architecture at Zurich Polytechnic. Parallel to his work in various architects’ offices Hans Gugelot toured Europe as a guitarist with a jazz orchestra. He worked for Max Bill between 1948 and 1950 and designed his first furniture. With the development of his own furniture programme, the furniture element system »M 125«, he became self-employed. In 1954 he was appointed to the newly founded College of Design in Ulm by Max Bill, who gave him responsibility for planning the extension to the building together with the students. One of Gugelot’s most famous designs stems from this period, the »ulmer hocker« (Ulm stool), which, with the collaboration of Max Bill, was originally designed for the Ulm College. The stool’s requirements were exceedingly simple: inexpensive to make, produced with conventional materials and flexible in use. Today, the »Ulm stool« is seen as the epitome of functionalism and minimalism.

From 1955 Hans Gugelot began with the formal development of the first innovative Braun products. With these products the Kronberg based Braun AG achieves an entirely new positioning at the German Radio, Phono and Television Exhibition in Düsseldorf. Gugelot continues his development of radio equipment for Braun. His design of the compact unit »sk«, created together with Dieter Rams, is legendary. This radio/record player combination, with self-contained housing in metal and wood and a lid in acrylic glass, went down in design history under the name “Snow White’s Coffin”.

Work followed for the Hamburg U-Bahn, the development of new corporate identity for Braun and, in 1962, the foundation of the »Institut für Produktionsentwicklung und Design eV« in Neu-Ulm. Hans Gugelot delivered numerous lectures and papers on the theme system design and developed concepts for companies like Agfa, Kodak, Girad etc. In 1965 the »Institut für Produktionsentwicklung und Design eV« moves to Ulm, it now has 13 employees. Hans Gugelot dies in September of the same year. In the space of only 10 years Hans Gugelot’s work had significantly changed the design world.