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September 1, 2011

Making its only American stop in San Francisco, the wonderful show Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams opened this week at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I got a chance to see the show and to interview Rams last week. He was very charming and (verboten in most cases) had little trouble or qualm about picking up the various objects on display as he described their origins. The show, which originated at the Suntory Museum in Osaka, Japan, is on through February 20th, 2012. Here's a sampling of what you'll see at the show and (as if you needed it) another reminder of why Rams' work for Braun and Vitsoe remains the pinnacle of European industrial design.

One of Rams' most iconic designs, the SK 4 radio-audio combination is from 1956 and was co-designed with Hans Gugelot. Critics famously dubbed this stereo "Snow White's coffin," but the inclusion of a clear acrylic lid to a record player would soon become
One of Rams' most iconic designs, the SK 4 radio-audio combination is from 1956 and was co-designed with Hans Gugelot. Critics famously dubbed this stereo "Snow White's coffin," but the inclusion of a clear acrylic lid to a record player would soon become common. Leave it to Rams to put technology on show in this way.
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The FS80 television set is Rams' design from 1964; a metal frame holds up the plastic housing of the screen.
The FS80 television set is Rams' design from 1964; a metal frame holds up the plastic housing of the screen.
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This G11 radio designed by Hans Gugelot from 1955 is a good signpost of where Rams started in his career at Braun. Early Rams designs incorporated wooden panels (maple here) but before long he found greater expression in plastic and metal.
This G11 radio designed by Hans Gugelot from 1955 is a good signpost of where Rams started in his career at Braun. Early Rams designs incorporated wooden panels (maple here) but before long he found greater expression in plastic and metal.
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Much of Rams' design was defined by neutral hues. He may add a dash of color on a switch or a knob, but in the main his work was a sober affair. These HLD 4 hair dryers from 1970 tell a very different, very groovy story. Unmistakably Rams, but also with a
Much of Rams' design was defined by neutral hues. He may add a dash of color on a switch or a knob, but in the main his work was a sober affair. These HLD 4 hair dryers from 1970 tell a very different, very groovy story. Unmistakably Rams, but also with a sense of play you don't always find in his output.
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The Atelier 1 radio from 1957 still used a bit of wood but was moving toward a more technical aesthetic. Rams also designed a record player as part of the series.
The Atelier 1 radio from 1957 still used a bit of wood but was moving toward a more technical aesthetic. Rams also designed a record player as part of the series.
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Though Rams designed scores of objects for Braun, he was equally influential as the director of design. The KF 20 Aromaster coffee machine from 1972 was designed by Florian Seiffert but bears the Braun style.
Though Rams designed scores of objects for Braun, he was equally influential as the director of design. The KF 20 Aromaster coffee machine from 1972 was designed by Florian Seiffert but bears the Braun style.
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The 300 special DL 3 is a pre-Rams design. The electric shaver would become an object Braun would return to over and over throughout the course of Rams' career. This one is by Artur Braun and Bodo Futterer from 1955.
The 300 special DL 3 is a pre-Rams design. The electric shaver would become an object Braun would return to over and over throughout the course of Rams' career. This one is by Artur Braun and Bodo Futterer from 1955.
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The KMM 2 coffee grinder is another of Rams' experiments in color. This one is from 1969.
The KMM 2 coffee grinder is another of Rams' experiments in color. This one is from 1969.
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The ABR 21 signal radio by Rams and Dietrich Lubs is a Braun entry in the clock radio race from 1978. <br /><br /><p><em><strong>Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our </strong></em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dwell/id411793747?mt=8"><em><st
The ABR 21 signal radio by Rams and Dietrich Lubs is a Braun entry in the clock radio race from 1978.

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One of Rams' most iconic designs, the SK 4 radio-audio combination is from 1956 and was co-designed with Hans Gugelot. Critics famously dubbed this stereo "Snow White's coffin," but the inclusion of a clear acrylic lid to a record player would soon become
One of Rams' most iconic designs, the SK 4 radio-audio combination is from 1956 and was co-designed with Hans Gugelot. Critics famously dubbed this stereo "Snow White's coffin," but the inclusion of a clear acrylic lid to a record player would soon become common. Leave it to Rams to put technology on show in this way.

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