Dieter Rams retrospective

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If you’ve ever been to our store in Los Angeles, you might be surprised to find out that one of our most prized possessions isn’t some rare piece of clothing we’ve picked up over the years. It actually has nothing to do with clothing at all, but everything to do with good design. Any knowledgable design critic would immediately notice our in-store shelving unit. That’s right, our shelves just so happen to be one of our most complimented aspects of the shop. An everyday consumer may not recognize that the functional, clean, sexy, white shelves supporting our product is in fact designed by a true legend. He is an influencer in all aspects of art and design. Dieter Rams.

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Much like our shelves, I can guarantee that every single day you encounter some aspect of Dieter Ram’s work and don’t even know it. The work is timeless and is presented in such a simplistic relationship to society that Ram’s work goes almost seemingly un-noticed. Alarm clocks, calculators, radios, amps, shavers, chairs, drawers, you name it. Born in Germany, Dieter Rams was one of the most influential industrial designers of the post-war period. His work has been shaping key industrial design innovations till this day.

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“An impenetrable confusion of forms, colors and noises” – Dieter Rams 1970

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Even today when we feel like everything around us is just excess, it is always refreshing to simplify. Contraptions coming and going, while trend are driving the popularity of items rather then their successful function. Rams had the same thought process back in the 70s. As a significant contributor to the world he was always aware of one question… “is my design good design?”

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To be sure that this question was always answered with a YES, Rams followed his 10 principles to good design.

  • GOOD DESIGN IS INNOVATIVE
  • GOOD DESIGN MAKES A PRODUCT USEFUL
  • GOOD DESIGN IS AESTHETIC
  • GOOD DESIGN MAKES A PRODUCT UNDERSTANDABLE
  • GOOD DESIGN IS UNOBTRUSIVE
  • GOOD DESIGN IS HONEST
  • GOOD DESIGN IS LONG-LASTING
  • GOOD DESIGN IS THOROUGH DOWN TO THE LAST DETAIL
  • GOOD DESIGN IS ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY
  • GOOD DESIGN IS AS LITTLE DESIGN AS POSSIBLE

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“Less but better”, rams would always refer back to. Many of the masters of design who are today shaping the 21st century have been influenced by much of this philosophy. Steve Jobs recognized this early and adapted both Ram’s calculator and clock for the first digital versions on the iPhone. As minimal design seems to be recognized as a modern style, it is always interesting to look back on the guys who have been working this way for ever. I guess some people are just ahead of the curve.

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Last night, it only seemed right to attend the Dieter Ram’s retrospective here in LA. Surprisingly this is the first time his work has been shown in Los Angeles at this scale. What an impressive career to witness on display in one room. The beauty in functionality is real. You wouldn’t think something like a simple alarm clock, desk radio or shelving unit would be so impressive but its more than that. Its more than just the material, size, color, look its the fact that the product WORKS on all levels. Our shelving unit was designed in 1960…1960! To this day his Universal Shelving unit has continued to keep up with the times and remain at the forefront of an industrial product. Next time you stop by be sure to appreciate the beauty just that much more.

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The Dieter Ram’s event runs from September 29th to October 27th at the JF Chen showroom at 830 North Highland Avenue. Be sure to check this one out, truly inspiring. Stay woke! PEACE. UNION.