Meeting Dieter Rams

I had the rare pleasure Friday of meeting and interviewing German industrial design legend Dieter Rams. Rams is in town for the opening of the exhibit Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. We spoke in the morning for some time about his work at Braun, his ten principles of good design, and his sense of the contemporary design scene. He was cheerful one moment, forceful the next, but perpetually engaged and insightful. More to come on Deiter from Dwell, but enjoy these photos taken of him by our Art Director Alejandro Chavetta.

Dieter1

Given Rams' outsized presence in the design world, I was curious to see if I could glean anything of the man's personal taste through what he was wearing. The chinos and black double-breasted blazer suggested a well-turned out, if serious, comportment. As did his sober glasses and black loafers. Two bits of character did shine through, though.

He was wearing a small pin in his buttonhole: a kind of lifetime achievement award from the German government. And he was carrying a terribly handsome cane. He told me that he got the wenge cane many years ago from its maker Nanna Ditzel, the great Danish furniture designer. He said that he never thought he'd have to use it, but a recent knee operation made it necessary. He regarded the thing for a moment, taking clear pleasure in the clarity of its design. Then he considered the rubber stopper at the end. "I don't like this part," he said, "but the original had nothing at the end. Just wood." Function seems to have won out over pure form.

Dieter Rams at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Dieter Rams at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

He finished the anecdote by telling me that he had the cane at an interview with British television and that they showed the cane. He says it's going back into production based on interest from the interview. You can buy a Ditzel walking stick of your own right here.

Stay tuned for more Rams here at dwell.com.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...