02 Bow down to Di­eter Rams

Esquire (UK) - - Style -

Gary Hust­wit is a New York doc­u­men­tary maker with good taste in both mu­sic and de­sign. In the for­mer camp are his films on the bands Wilco and An­i­mal Col­lec­tive and the singer Mavis Sta­ples. In the lat­ter are projects like Work­place, his 2016 doc­u­men­tary about the fu­ture of the of­fice, com­mis­sioned for the Venice Bi­en­nale of Ar­chi­tec­ture. One of Hust­wit’s best-known is 2007’s Hel­vetica, the story of the en­dur­ing Swiss type­face used by Evian, Muji and a mil­lion other brands. And now we have Rams, a new doc­u­men­tary on Di­eter Rams.

The most fa­mous prod­uct de­signer of our times, via his iconic work at Braun and Vit­soe, Rams’ clean, curved, white cof­feemaker, stereo, cal­cu­la­tor and alarm clocks are death­less de­sign clas­sics. Rams, which fea­tures a new Brian Eno sound­track, is re­mark­able for a cou­ple of things. First, that the re­tired and reclu­sive 86-year-old agreed to talk at all; and sec­ond, for the biopic’s of­ten sober tone. Rams de­signed his prod­ucts to en­dure. For a min­i­mal­ist, then, it’s per­haps fit­ting that he rails against our cur­rent cul­ture of over­con­sump­tion. “If I had to do it over again I would not be a de­signer,” the thought­ful Ger­man laments. “There are too many un­nec­es­sary prod­ucts in the world.” Rams is out this month

Right: de­sign clas­sics by Di­eter Rams in­clude the Braun Phase 1 alarm clock and Braun HLD 4 hairdryer

Left: Di­eter Rams dur­ing his time as de­sign di­rec­tor of Braun, pic­tured in his of­fice in Frank­furt, Ger­many, 1979

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