Dieter Rams on good design at Soho Phaidon

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Dieter Rams and it won’t be the last. His Ten Commandments of Good Design have been the guiding light for designers since the mid 1950s. But his ideas apply to non-designers as well. His call for innovation, honesty, attention to detail and aesthetics as well as an awareness of and responsibility to the environment are ideals to live by, not just design by. His design ethos is sexy, his designs, clearly, are sexy too, and Rams is pretty bangin’ himself – the close-cropped blonde (now white) ‘do, black turtlenecks and little tortoise shell glasses has had this German girl in something of a tizzy for years.

Fellow Rams fans gathered Wednesday night at the Soho Phaidon store for a panel discussion, “exhibition,” and mingle sesh to celebrate the release of the monograph “Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible.” Exhibition is in quotations because it was really just fan art tacked to a narrow wall – the winners of a competition held by Core77, which asked readers to submit a drawing of their favorite of Ram’s designs. The simple, low-fi black ink drawings lent a nice, personal touch to all a room bustling with design austerity.

Panelists included furniture designer Zoe Coombes (Cmmnwlth), creative director Michael DiTullo (who contributed to the book) and HELVETICA director Gary Hustwit, who broke down Rams’ continuing relevance in design like this: “It still looks cool. It looked like the future in 1957 and it looks like the future now.” Agreed. Some of the pieces Rams designed for Braun back in the 50s and 60s are still used daily by my ultra modern grandparents: the alarm clock, radio, hair dryer, juicer, coffee grinder and coffee maker, which is what I would have drawn and submitted for my fan art. What’s your favorite Rams design?