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Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible [Hardcover]

Sophie Lovell , Klaus Kemp , Jonathan Ive

List Price: CDN$ 95.00
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Book Description

June 22 2011
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.

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Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible + Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams
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'...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' Alice Rawsthorn, 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 ...' Apphia Michael, 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.' Thomas Phongsathorn, V&A [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 & 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 Exhibtions 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 Science in Wiesbaden. 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.

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Little Design As Possible Aug. 15 2011
By Jan Staller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Several books about Braun Design and Dieter Rams have appeared in recent years. To my knowledge, this Phaidon volume is the most comprehensive and detailed. The books I have purchased in the past were mostly comprised of black and white photographs accompanied by texts in German and English. This book, written entirely in English extensively chronicles Dieter Rams
history and his involvement with Braun AG. With a forward written by Jonathan Ive, probably the designer most indebted to the mid century design of Braun AG, this book shows how
the industrial designs of Dieter Rams and Braun AG have come to influence industrial designers in the time of the 2000s. The first Jo Klatt book, Braun+Design Collection has extensively pictured virtually every Braun product made, but the text is German. Less but Better, also by Klatt is written in German and English, and it recounts the rich history of Dieter Rams and Braun. However, after acquiring and reading it, I wished to know more and see more. The Phaidon book is satisfying. There are many photographs of the quintessential Rams designs, and many are in color. Also included are surprising photographs of shelves in storage rooms at Braun AG stacked with successive versions of various product. The book is beautifully designed and printed. The cover is cleverly embossed with a texture reminiscent of a Braun razor. Should one want a single book about this important desingner, Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible is the book to have.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visually Comprehensive Review of an Influential Designer, But Needs More Context July 17 2011
By Rob Wilcox - Published on Amazon.com
Dieter Rams has been a strong influence on modern industrial design. He worked many years for Braun. Jonathan Ive at Apple, and many others have acknowledged Ram's influence. Rams wrote a book in German and coauthored others.

This is a valuable visual catalog of all his work in context. It covers the individual works and their chronology, too brief writings by Rams himself, and short notes by designers who have been influenced by Rams. There is a useful exploration of Rams in the context of German philosophy and culture by Klaus Kemp.

Early versions of Rams' 10 principles are presented, along with thoughts on designing detail. Those 10 principles should be prominently on the tackboard or in a mobile phone app of every designer, including customer experience designers. I must disagree with the publisher's review, the book could have been better with more of Rams' original design drawings, conference presentations or writings.

The book is great for visual inspiration, and to explain concepts to clients if you work in Rams' style, which in my opinion is needed more than ever.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Apple products? Here's a large part of the reason they look so functional and beautiful Nov. 17 2013
By Jesse Kornbluth - Published on Amazon.com
Apple is the #1 brand in the world.

Bigger than Coke, which has held the title since forever.

Bigger than IBM, Microsoft, GE, McDonald's, Samsung, Intel and Toyota.

$98.3 billion big.

One big reason for Apple's dominance: its design. Steve Jobs was a maniac about the look and feel of his products, and when his design team got it right, he was wild with joy: "You gotta see this in person. This is beyond the doubt, the most precise thing, and one of the most beautiful we've ever made. Glass on the front and back, and steel around the sides. It's like a beautiful old Leica camera."

Steve Jobs didn't design Apple products. That was the province of Apple's senior vice president of industrial design, Sir Jonathan Ive. (Yes, Ive, a Brit, has been knighted.) But Jony Ive didn't work alone -- he stood on the shoulders of a giant.

The good news is that there is finally a picture-and-text book that chronicles the career of Dieter Rams, the German designer whose work for Braun is clearly the inspiration for Apple's products.

If you are an engineer, designer or architect, you want this book. If you need to buy a present for an engineer, designer or architect, expect deep gratitude if you give this book. The rest of you? If you want to meet a genius and survey his work, here's the coffee table book for you. And, okay, this is a book that will make your friends think you are just as smart as you are.

Who is Dieter Rams?

In 1955, when he was hired at Braun, the 23-year-old Rams sketched a design for the company's office. For the back wall he had drawn a modular, wall-mounted storage system. He thought that might be useful to market. Erwin Braun's response: "Yes. It will help the market for our radios."

Coffee grinders, toasters, pocket calculators, radios and hi-fi equipment came next, all designed on the same principle: "Weniger, aber besser" (translation: "Less, but better"). And more than half a century later, that shelving system is still selling.

Rams designed almost 500 products. They are exceptional in their beauty, functionality and design. And did I say there were 500 of them? That number stops me cold. It's like a golfer shooting hole in one after hole in one.

Rams' ten design principles belong on the wall of every designer. No way are they ten commandments -- designers violate them often. That's why Rams says that only one company consistently delights him:

"I am always fascinated when I see the latest Apple products. Apple has managed to achieve what I never achieved: using the power of their products to persuade people to queue to buy them. For me, I had to queue to receive food at the end of World War II. That's quite a change."

Johny Ive, for his part, could not praise Rams more highly:

"He remains utterly alone in producing a body of work so consistently beautiful, so right and so accessible."
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book Jan. 15 2013
By J. Hartman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Provides a good written and pictorial history of Mr. Rams' time with Braun. It's a big, heavy book with high quality printing and binding. If you are a designer, architect, engineer, or are studying to be one, this book should be in your personal library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good overview Jan. 9 2012
By John Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Good overview of Rams' work and photo quality is good. I also saw the "Less and More" exhibit at a museum, and that really adds to the experience that you can't get from the book alone. For example, you can walk around and see objects from behind and see the details, which you can't do with the photos in the book. So if you can, read the book, but also try to see the real thing. The dust cover is cleverly made with stippled pattern like some of Rams' work

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