The ideal product is one that is beautifully easy to use and simply beautiful to look at.

Not a detail too many, no frills, expressed in three words: "Less, but better." Many years ago, Dieter Rams formulated his maxim as a product designer in such a concise way that not only reflects the aesthetics of functionalism and minimalism, but also the is also a piece of advice to today's generation of designers.

Only things that people like for many years and that are practical for that purpose do not end up in the trash after a short period of use, which is one of the major tasks of the time to reduce and thus conserve resources.

Christian Riethmuller

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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Products designed by Dieter Rams are seldom found in the garbage anyway, since music systems, furniture, clocks and kitchen appliances designed by him have long been regarded as icons of 20th-century design.

Much has found its way into museums, some is still produced today, and everything has its collectors, who pay a lot of money for well-preserved originals.

But it's not just professional and private collectors who adore the Kronberg-based designer, who celebrates his 90th birthday on May 20th.

But even those who may never have heard of the name Rams, but who appreciate Apple products not least because of their aesthetics, should spontaneously pay homage to him, since the long-standing chief designer at Apple, Jonathan Ive, has Rams' designs as one of the key inspirations for his own works like iPhone,

As Rams begins his career, today's connected, pocket-sized world is a long way off.

After the Second World War, it first had to be rebuilt, and this required craftsmen and architects.

In any case, Rams, who was born in Wiesbaden in 1932, began studying architecture and interior design at the local Werkkunstschule in 1947, which he interrupted for a three-year apprenticeship in Kelkheim as a carpenter and completed in 1953.

The choice of carpentry is no coincidence, as Rams' grandfather had a carpentry workshop in Wiesbaden, where the grandson learned the relevant construction methods at an early age.

Perhaps this previous education was fateful, since it is connected to Rams' involvement with the electronics manufacturer Braun in Kronberg.

A friend drew his attention to the position, and in 1955 Rams applied to Erwin and Artur Braun, who also hired him – to design the company's interior.

At the time, its design department was still working closely with the Ulm School of Design, but quickly involved the new, very talented man in the design work.

Legendary Designs

When the management of Braun finally decided to establish its own design department in Kronberg, Rams was there and from 1961 to 1995 he was also its head.

Together with his team he writes design history.

In 1956, together with Hans Gugelot, he designed the Phonosuper SK4 stereo system, which became legendary under its nickname "Snow White's Coffin";

other designs for Braun audio equipment include the Transistor 1 portable radio, the TP 2 phonograph, the T 1000 world receiver, and the Studio 2, the first composite hi-fi system.

In the 1960s, the KM2 kitchen appliances followed, the M140 hand mixer, the Sixtant electric razor, pocket and table lighters;

in the 1970s, for example, the MPZ 21 citrus press and the famous BNC002 travel alarm clock, which was created in collaboration with Dietrich Lubs, with whom Rams then also designed the ET66 pocket calculator, which is so exemplary for many an Apple product, in 1987.

It is still manufactured under license today, as are some of the designer's other designs in production, such as the 606 shelving system by the system furniture manufacturer Vitsoe, which was once founded in Frankfurt and is now based in Great Britain, and who also makes the famous 620 armchair designed by Rams.

Furniture that has not only made it into many households, but also into important art collections such as those of the MoMA in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum Angewandte Kunst (MAK) in Frankfurt.

The latter has been presenting important designs by Dieter Rams and many photos by his wife Ingeborg in its permanent exhibition for several years.

Together with her, Dieter Rams, who has retired from the public eye, founded the Dieter and Ingeborg Rams Foundation, which has now been given even more financial support to mark its 90th birthday and is headed by the new executive director, Klaus Klemp wants to campaign for sustainable design, in which less is more, thoughtless consumption is changed into responsible consumption and products convince with their concepts and functions and not just with the beautiful appearance of the design.

In short: "Less, but better."