Less, But Better
Photographed by Jonathan Hökklo and Hanna Tveite
It’s likely that the designs of Dieter Rams have entered your life without your knowing it: your father’s electric shaver, the wall clock in an old classroom, the multi-tasking shelves in your architect’s office. Like an invisible filament sewn through the twentieth century, Rams’s designs are modest, functional, and universal.
The German industrial designer is principled. He has 10, in fact, that he has developed over a career launching innovative electronics at Braun, and in designing furniture with Vitsœ, a 58-year-run company with an unchanging dedication to quality. Rams’s principles for good design proceed from the central idea of “Weniger, aber besser” (or “Less, but better”).
Good design is aesthetic. The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being.
Rams is a protégé of the Ulm School of Design, founded in 1953 to integrate craft and technology by way of systems thinking. This translates to pieces like the Vitsœ 606 Universal Shelving System, a track-based wall-mounted system designed by Rams in 1960 at the age of 23. The modular shelves are made for any room in the house; the study, the kitchen, the entry, the office. Vitsœ is anti-obsolescence (so is Rams) with sustainable construction and unobtrusive designs to appeal across decades and interiors. Through Vitsœ, Rams takes “Less, but better” a step further: “living better, with less, that lasts longer.”
You can find Vitsœ in four places: Munich, London, on cobbled Bond Street in New York, and the newest location in Beverly Grove area of Los Angeles. And this week in LA, the vintage dealer (and our go-to at The Line), JF Chen, presents an offering of Dieter Rams’s rare designs across furniture and electronics. The event runs from September 29th to October 27th at the JF Chen showroom at 830 North Highland Avenue. It’s a chance to revisit the designs that have shaped our lives, and bring them back into our homes for another round.
Explore another chapter in The Stories:
Free Spirit: The Modern Vision of Charlotte Perriand