Lifelong collector, Tom Strong, a Connecticut-born graphic designer has donated the Dieter Rams designed products on display at the Vitsœ store in New York City. At the age of 77, he was becoming concerned about the legacy of his collection and wanted it put to better use. Visiting the store one day in 2016, he mentioned this to staff who responded with the idea of a putting it on permanent display at the new Leamington Spa HQ in England, where it will be available to design students. A brief showing at the Bond Street store was arranged before it sets sail across the pond.

Dieter Rams Braun - Adsum

Probably the most famous living industrial designer, Dieter Rams is known for adopting a "Less, but better" approach to design throughout his career. As well as the hundreds of products he designed for Braun in the 1950s that made the brand a household name, he designed furniture for Vitsœ from the 1960s onwards, including their 620 Chair Programme and best-selling 606 Shelving System, which Jasper Morrison once described as “the endgame in shelving—as close to perfect design as it is possible to get.”

In the 1970s, Rams introduced the idea of sustainable development and of obsolescence being a crime in design in the 1970s. Famously asking the question: is my design good design? Answering with the now celebrated ‘ten principles’, which like his designs, are still very relevant today.

  • 1. Good design is innovative
  • 2. Good design makes a product useful
  • 3. Good design is aesthetic
  • 4. Good design makes a product understandable
  • 5. Good design is unobtrusive
  • 6. Good design is honest
  • 7. Good design is long-lasting
  • 8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  • 9. Good design is environmentally friendly
  • 10. Good design is as little design as possible

Rams’ design genius is that whilst taste levels are high, nothing he makes is superfluous, everything has a function and reason to be. His vision of simplicity and restraint has influenced design forever.

Well worth a look before it closes on May 24th.

Vitsœ New York
33 Bond St. 10012 NY

Words by: Patrick Little
Photographs by: Keith E. Morrison