Making combinations with Dieter Rams

Furniture by Dieter Rams, the iconic industrial designer, will be showcased at the Vitra Design Museum‘s exhibit “Modular Furniture” in Weil am Rhein, Germany. In the sixties and seventies Dieter’s designs for Braun electronics set the standard for minimalist design.  Designed for Braun, the radios, lighters, and record players are all characterized by a sleek aesthetic exposing the anatomy of the object.

“Snow Coffin,” record player, a Dieter design for Braun


“Modular Furniture” will display Rams’s lesser known furniture designs, in which we see the designer’s sensitivity to the lives of the user:  understated yet sleek, the lightness of the pieces lend themselves to the fluidity of modern life.  Shelves are designed to be reconfigured, chairs are inviting from any angle, and tables are simple and functional.  These qualities enable the user to change her space with changes in life.  New books?  add a shelf.  Friends coming over? rearrange the living room.  Wanna play with your dog? move the table aside.  Indeed, the lightness of the modern pieces makes them seem effortless, functionally and visually.

His vision for furniture that changes with your life is best executed in the 606 Universal Shelving System,  still manufactured today by  Vitsoe.  The 606 is like a great enabler, giving people the power to shape their own spaces.  The elegance of the system reminds me of a quote by the great 20th century economist E F Schumacher – “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” The shelves are a beautiful marriage of simplicity and effectiveness.

Dieter, a living legend is influential in his work as well as his design philosophy of “less is better.” We’ll share his 10 tips for good design, tips we incorporate into our work as well.





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