Dieter Rams is one of the most influential product designers of the 20th century. During his long career working for Braun, where he had a paramount share in designing their signature products, which are exemplary for a stringently functional aesthetic that consistently reduces design to essentials.
In 1947-48 Dieter Rams studied architecture and interior design at the "Werkkunstschule" but interrupted his studies between 1948 and 1951 to serve an apprenticeship in cabinet-making in Kelkheim before returning to the "Werkkunstschule", where he took his diploma in 1953.
Dieter Rams worked in the Frankfurt practice of the architect Otto Apels. By 1955 Dieter Rams was working for Braun as an architect and interior designer; a year later he was also a product designer at Braun.
In 1961 Dieter Rams became manager of the product design division at Braun and, in 1968, director of product design; from 1980 he was on the Braun board of directors, in 1988 as chairman. In 1997 Dieter Rams left Braun.
In the 1950s Dieter Rams collaborated with Hans Gugelot as well as the "Hochschule für Gestaltung" in Ulm (HfG) on developing the signature forward-looking Braun products. In 1964 the Museum of Modern Art in New York devoted an exhibition to the entire Braun range of stunning consumer electronics and appliances.
From 1957 Dieter Rams also designed for Otto Zapf (later Vitsoe & Zapf); his work for them includes the "570" table range (1957), the "606" shelving system (1960), and "620" (1962), a line in seat furniture.
From 1981 Dieter Rams was a professor of industrial design at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg; he retired in 1997.
Dieter Rams's philosophy of design is summed up in his ten theses on design, which, put briefly, are as follows: (1) Good design is innovative, (2) makes a product easy to understand, (3) is aesthetic, (4) makes a product useful, (5) is unobtrusive, (6) is durable, (7) is consistently thought out down to the most minute detail, (9) is environmentally friendly, and (10) has the least to do with design possible.
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