Synopses & Reviews
"Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design" – Dieter Rams.
Dieter Rams’ life and work are indelibly linked to his thoughts about how people live, and how they can live better. Products he designed in the 1960s are still being produced and sold today – only one demonstration of the strength of his work.
This comprehensive monograph covers both Rams’ life and his work, as well as his ideas on good design, which continue to inspire designers and consumers today. A personal foreword by Jonathan Ive evokes the influence that Rams has had on his own work and, by extention, the objects with which so many of us share our everyday lives. An introduction and an essay by Klaus Kemp tell the story of Rams’ early life, his training as an architect, and the intellectual context in which his ideas were developed. The next four chapters examine Rams' work and his life – which are more or less synonymous – in depth. This includes his role at Braun as well as the work he did for the furniture company Vitsoe. Each chapter includes sketches, prototypes, finished products and the marketing for those products, giving a complete picture of Rams’ work and its context. Two other chapters in this section present Rams’ own house, the only work of architecture that he completed, and examine the products he designed at the level of detail, a crucial aspect to his work. A further chapter examines Rams’ "ten commandments" of good design and his credo, "less but better", in the context of his role as head of design at Braun, and a final chapter explores his legacy in the work of contemporary designers including Naoto Fukasawa, Jonathan Ive, Sam Hecht, and Konstantin Grcic.
This beautifully designed book includes a wide variety of visual material, including sketches and technical drawings, photographs of Rams’ work as well as his life, archival material from both Braun and Vitsoe, Ingeborg Rams’ subtle photographs and Vitsoe’s playful graphic design and advertising. This book will appeal not only to fans of Dieter Rams’ work, but to everyone drawn to the message behind his "ten commandments" of good design – which are really ideas about how we can all live better and more sustainable lives.
"Shines by painting a refreshingly realistic picture of the design process. . . The easiest way to describe Mr. Rams’s impact on design is to say that he made Braun the "Apple" – in other words the It‐brand – of its time." – International Herald Tribune
"While many of the books about Dieter Rams are predominantly dry catalogues, Lovell’s book examines the relevance of his work from a contemporary design standpoint by featuring interviews with some of today’s top industrial designers." Wallpaper.com
"As Little Design as Possible is well‐structured, thorough and provides background context to the many facets of Rams’s career, and also considers the continuation of his Ten Principles of Good Design." – Victoria and Albert Museum magazine
About the Author
Dieter Rams was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1932. In 1955 he began work at Braun, a company at which he became head of design in 1961, and at which he stayed until 1995. While there, he produced and oversaw some of the seminal products of the twentieth century, including radios, shavers and kitchen appliances. At the same time, he designed furniture for a small company, Vitsoe + Zapf (later Vitsoe), which is still in production today. In addition to his work as a designer and design manager, he is well known as a lecturer and for his "ten commandments" of good design, which advocate innovative, useful and durable products.
Sophie Lovell was born in London. After graduating from Chelsea College of Art and Design, she moved to Berlin in 1994. She is an artist, designer, writer, art director, consultant and has been a long‐term contributing editor and the German editor of Wallpaper* magazine. She is the author of several books including Limited Edition: Prototypes, One‐Offs and Design Art Furniture, This Gun Is for Hire and Furnish – Furniture and Interior Design for the 21st Century.
Dr. Klaus Kemp is the Head of Exhibitions at the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Arts. He was previously head of the culture department of the city of Frankfurt, and of the municipal galleries located in the former Karmeliterkloster (Karemliter Monastery) and the Leinwandhaus. Since 1998, he has been an associate lecturer in design history and theory and public design in Nurnberg, Wiesbaden and Wurzburg and since 2008, honorary professor at Rhein Main University of Applied ScienceWiesbaden. He has published numerous articles in the fields of architecture, design and fine arts.
Jonathan Ive is senior vice‐president of design at Apple Inc. He is responsible for the design of some of the most iconic and well‐used objects of the late twentieth century, including the iMac, iBook, Powerbook, iPod, and the iPhone.