World Receiver “T 1000” by Dieter Rams with which all global short-wave transmitters could be received, 1963, Photo: Andreas Kugel, © Dieter und Ingeborg Rams Stiftung

Industrial designer Dieter Rams has long been a legendary figure. He designed more than 350 products for Braun and Vitsœ which are used day after day by people around the world. He still exerts a major influence over younger designers, with Apple being a prime example. Rams was never interested solely in the form of everyday objects. Rather, he also expressed thoughts about the importance of products for people, society and the environment in many presentations and publications. At a time when resource conservation and environmental protection have become key challenges for society, Rams is more relevant than ever thanks to the “Less but better” credo underlying his attitude. He has argued since as far back as the 1970s that things should be designed to enable as long a usage cycle as possible. Decades ago he and his teams were practising the things that are today discussed as the “aesthetic of consumption”: “Good design is environmentally friendly. Design makes an important contribution to preserving the environment. It involves conserving resources just as much as it does minimising physical and visual pollution in product design.”

How should our future environment be shaped so that it can survive? Based on about 30 objects chosen by Rams and 50 photographs, reproductions and texts, the designer is trying to give answers to this question in an exhibition called “Dieter Rams. Looking Back and Ahead”. The show, curated by Professor Klaus Klemp, will be on display at Frankfurt’s Museum Angewandte Kunst from 16 April 2021 to 8 August 2021.

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