Less and More: the design ethos of Dieter Rams

In 1955 Dieter Rams began working for a little known electrical company called Braun (pronounced ‘brown’) and quickly became an influential force within the company. From 1961 Prof Rams was head of design until his retirement in 1995.

Suntory Museum, Osaka and the Fuchu Museum, Tokyo have put together an exhibition to show a vast amount of the products that were designed at Braun during his tenure at the electrical giant. Amongst this work is also work for the other companies that Dieter Rams put his hand to, namely Vitsœ and FSB.

During the recent visit I had the opportunity to view the exhibition with Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs (who had designed most of the clocks and watches during this period).


The object that most stood out to me, was the FS 1000 portable television. Having seen most of the popular products before (the T 1000 world receiver, SK 4 record player et al) this was quite a surprise to see. This was just a prototype but Dieter Rams explained to me that “it was planned to sit alongside the T 1000 [world receiver]”. It never went into production, but now I look at Fukasawa’s portable television in a very different light – I see a clear influence, deliberate or not.

The most striking part of this television was the tilting screen and the way in which Rams dealt with the tube at the back of the television, only creating a case for the shape of the tube. I am sure that this product could have had a life if only it had made it beyond prototype stage.

Less and More: the design ethos of Dieter Rams is at Suntory Museum, Osaka until 25 Janaury 2009 and at Fuchu Art Museum from 23 May to 20 July 2009.


Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.


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