Happy Birthday Dieter Rams: Still Going Strong

Turning 85 years old (on 20th May 2017), it is a pleasure to wish Dieter Rams a very happy birthday.

The Designer’;s Designer

Dieter Rams, the distinguished German industrial designer, has enjoyed an illustrious career and is still going strong. Rams has steered a steady course through an often turbulent design world, creating intelligent designs with the purposeful stride of a great innovator. Working exclusively with 2 companies—Braun and Vitsœ—Rams developed a prolific body of work, and has amassed a dedicated following. His ‘Ten Principles for Good Design‘ outline a thoughtful approach to design; appropriately, they have shaped the thinking of many creative minds throughout the years. Dieter Rams is a designer’;s designer: once influenced by the Bauhaus and Ulm School of Design, Rams, in turn, has influenced many of today’;s industrial designers. Names include Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Morrison, Konstantin Grcic, and most famously, Jonathan Ive. (1)

A classic Dieter Rams.

Filmmaker Gary Hustwit—director of Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized—is making a feature-length documentary on the life and work of Dieter Rams, due for release in late 2017. Photo © Gary Hustwit.

Still Going Strong

Honouring the 85th birthday of Dieter Rams, Vitsœ is showcasing a rather special collection of Braun products—’;The Strong Collection’;. Rams worked with Braun for forty years and was Head of the company’;s Design Department from 1961, personally designing products, as well as overseeing and guiding product design. The astonishing ‘Strong Collection’;—of over 250 Braun items—was generously donated by a Vitsœ customer, Tom Strong. A passionate collector from his early childhood, Strong was smitten with Rams’;s designs for Braun: ‘I began to collect these [Braun] items because I enjoyed using them and I was fascinated by the progression in design that I was seeing,’; Strong explained to Vitsœ. ‘Rams’s designs made the products understandable and self-educational. He made things that were easy to grasp, to get to know and to handle roughly without breaking.’; (2) Tom Strong’;s significant donation to Vitsœ will ensure that many people can witness the profound nature of Ram’;s designs for years to come. His donation was made on the condition that the collection would remain on display, not secreted away.

Items from ‘The Strong Collection’;.

Items from ‘The Strong Collection’;.

Items from ‘The Strong Collection’;.

Items from ‘The Strong Collection’;.

Braun T 1000 (right).

Braun SK 61 phonosuper.

Braun SM 3 sixtant.

Braun BL 12 ladyshave.

Braun ABR 21.

Braun KF 21 Aromaster (White) and KF 20 (Olive). The main difference between these 2 models can be observed in the handle design.

Braun packaging.

Items from ‘The Strong Collection’; are on display at Vitsœ’;s New York shop until 24th May 2017 (coinciding with Dieter Ram’;s birthday and the International Contemporary Furniture Fair—ICFF). Ram’;s 606 Universal Shelving System, designed in 1960 and made by Vitsœ ever since, is fittingly displaying the collection. ‘The Strong Collection’; will then move to its permanent home at Vitsœ’;s newly built HQ in Royal Leamington Spa, England (opening later in 2017).

All photos © Vitsœ (with the exception of the Gary Hustwit portrait of Dieter Rams).


(1) Keiko Ueki-Polet and Klaus Klemp. (ed.) (July 2015) Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams. Gestal8.

(2) Vitsoe.com. (2017). The Strong collection. [online] Available at: https://www.vitsoe.com/gb/voice/strong [Accessed 18 May 2017].

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