Dieter Rams

The Animated Movement of Time.

I’ll admit it, I’m a watch guy. I like the art, craft, design, and engineering that goes into a nice looking time piece. I’ll also say that I am not a watch snob. I’m the guy that appreciates the quality of a Patek Philippe Calatrava, but also appreciates the understated design of Braun watches designed by Dieter Rams. I think the second half of that statement is the heart of it for me. The watches I own, are all fairly simple in the way they look. Nothing to flashy, nothing that shows off to much. All of this leads me to California-based designer Matt Johnston (no relation to me) who also loves watches,, clean design, and author of the website Wrist.

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Wrist began as a sideline project to help Johnston improve his illustration skills, and eventually morphed into it’s own world of animated watch graphics collaborating with other designers. Wrist is a website / project featuring animated watch illustrations modeled after some of Johnston’s favorite watches. For Johnston watches are the perfect medium for design since they combine typography, color and movement to create a functional work of art. Wrist posts a new animation bi-weekly and if you are a designer interested in collaborating with Matt, he is looking for talented help with his project.

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Found… “Braun SK 2 / PC3 – SV”

For some time now I have been lusting after Braun stereo components designed by the legendary Dieter Rams. While there are quite a few available on eBay, and through private collectors, it’s pretty rare to find one that has never been used, is still in the original box, and has all the paper work with it. Over the weekend I found a Braun PC 3-SV turntable in that very condition. Yesterday I pulled the trigger and purchased it from VintageEuroDesign on Etsy.

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I made this purchase not because this 1959 turntable is going to produce amazing audio, but because of the condition, and the fact that this is an iconic piece designed by Rams.

Braun SK 2 / PC3 – SV introduced the principle of modular components that dominated the early period of Braun audio design lead by Deiter Rams, Between 1955 – 1970. This fifteen year period can be broken into three distinct phases, with the PC 3-SV phonograph falling in the second. For a really good lesson on the history of the thinking behind the Braun systems, check out Das Programm.

WTHR, Inspired by Dieter Rams and Braun.

WTHR, you can get it here.

If you are an iPhone user that is crazy about clean design, beautiful simple user interfaces, and clean graphics this app is for you. If you are into design, love Dieter Rams designed pieces for Braun, this app is for you. If you are looking for a simpler wether application for your iPhone, this app is for you. It won’t show you storm track Doppler radar, but it will give you current conditions in a quick easy read.

Designed by David Elgena, this app just got purchased and moved to my iPhone’s home screen.

Light Up Friday Afternoon with “Rima”.

For the last 4 days I have been working on a heavy animation piece that at times makes my eyes spin. It’s partly due to the red and white patterns I am animating, and partly due to the low light that I work in. This might explain my obsession of late with lighting fixtures and lamps, although I doubt it.

This afternoon while rendering a section of footage I took some time to cruise through a number of design/manufacturing sites, and I came across this wonderful desk lamp from Dreipuls. Rima absolutely knocked me over when I saw the images and video on the Dreipuls website. The lamp is elegant, clean, and feels like something Dieter Rams would have designed for Braun back in the day.

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Rima is a unique lamp that allows the user to adjust lighting by moving light, not the lamp to the desired location. This is made possible by several series-connected LEDs which are controlled by moving rings on a processor which controls the light. The position of each ring controls the amount of power given to each LED bank within the lamp, the angle of each LED, the color of the light, and light intensity. This allows whoever is using the lamp to vary each LED group in a multitude of ways.

Braun Re-issues Deiter Rams Designed Watches.

In the mid 1970’s Braun issued a series of watches designed by the legendary Dieter Rams. That same series of watches has recently been re-issued with some minor modifications approved by Dietrich Lubs. The Braun watches were designed by Rams to provide a stylish minimalist solution to telling time, and that design aesthetic still holds up today. The watches feature three muted color systems, clean minimal lines, and solid material choices. That clean and minimal aesthetic is a Rams signature and, plays a major role in the Braun timepiece’s development. For further information on Braun watches and a complete look at the line go here, Braun-clocks.com.

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The Revo Heritage. It Looks So Good, But…

When I first saw this table top radio I got all excited. The retro styling looks like it could have been designed by Dieter Rams for Braun. A clean some what minimalist look in wood and brushed steel. I was so impressed with the images I saw I thought I’d dig up some more information, especially since this goes for $399.00. I was really hoping I’d find a review that said this was worth the money, especially since it has so many ports on the back of it. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. At the end of the day, almost every review I read had two conclusions. The sound quality is horrid with no bass, and distortion when the volume is turned up. And if you want to get good sound out of it you have to plug in a set of external speakers which kind of defeats the purpose of having a table top radio. What a shame because this thing looks so good. One of the things Revo should have thought about when designing the “Hertitage” FM and DAB radio/iPod dock is, for this kind of money it better sound as good as it looks.

Almost every review compliments Revo on the easy to use controls, and useful features, but ding it on sound quality and the fact that you have to use the online web interface on your computer to bookmark a radio station. And the dependence on the web interface partially defeats the point of having a dedicated internet radio.

I was so hoping that the reviews on this would say it sounds as good as it looks.

The BBC’s “Genius of Design”.

The BBC has a new television series, “The Genius of Design” which unfortunately is not available in my cable package. If I’m lucky it might make it to PBS some time in the next 5 years, or I might be able to get via Netflix in the next 18 months. There are however a series of clips available via Vimeo right now and they are worth watching.

Episode One begins with the birth of industrial design moving from the futurism of the Bauhaus school showcasing a comprehensive division from theoretical design to consumerism. In Episode One the series explains how design was originally a monologue pushed forward by the designer, and how it has become a dialog with the user/consumer at this point. The show is really well done explaining in easy to understand language how industrial design has evolved from  a designers imposed vision to how design interacts with the world around it and the people using it.

The series features classic designs from cast-iron cooking pots to sheep shears – classic example of industrial produced objects culminating in the Model T and Henry Ford’s ideal of mass-production. The series includes interviews with legendary designer Dieter Rams and J Mays, Ford Motors’ global head of design.

Update: Sorry folks, it looks like the BBC asked Vimeo to pull these clips off of their site. It’s a shame because they were really great and show the promise of this series.

Click Here For Episode One on Vimeo

Click Here For Episode Two on Vimeo