Dieter Rams is one of the most influential industrial designers of the 20th century known for his dedication to precise and orderly design. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1932, he was profoundly influenced by the work of his grandfather, a carpenter. At sixteen he began courses in interior design followed by a three-year carpentry internship. In 1953, he joined Otto Apel’s architecture office in Frankfurt where he collaborated with Skidmore, Owings and Merril on the planning of the U.S. Consulate buildings in West Germany. Shortly thereafter he was recruited by the German consumer electronics manufacturer Braun in 1955. In 1956, in collaboration with mentors from the Ulm School of Design, his design which displayed the mechanics of the SK4 radio and record player through transparent plastic put his design work on the map.
For nearly thirty-five years, Rams was the Head of Design at Braun beginning in 1961 through 1995. During this time he launched a range of iconic products including audio equipment, watches, calculators, and a furniture collection for Vitsoe. He strove to develop products that were both aesthetically simplistic and easy to operate. His “less, but better” approach to design is iconic and has influenced modern-day companies such as Apple. In 1995 he became the Executive Director of corporate identity affairs at Braun until his retirement that in 1997. While an accomplished industrial designer, Rams’ only architectural project was his personal home built near Frankfurt, Germany. —Wright