Less and More

March 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

My birthday gift arrived after over two months of waiting in anticipation!

Less and More: the design ethos of Dieter Rams is like, the coolest book ever. It’s definitely opened my eyes as a designer, but also a liver of life. I think a person could learn a lot from his attitude not only in creating products but also in using them; if we did the world would definitely be better off for it.

“Less and More” is a cool saying I might have to steal adopt. I don’t remember the exact turn of events, but it started with the Van Der Rohe “less is more” statement which was followed by some other guy saying “Less is a bore”. Dieter Rams’ major philosophy was simplicity, but not for simplicity’s sake. It was a practical simplicity, following the function of the design. Since things could be made easier to use by simplifying, it made it a better design and so less was ‘more’ in the design sense. Sadly, my feeble explanation isn’t nearly as good as the book’s, so you should just read it yourself.

Oh, that lovely desk.

Mr. Rams and a few of his designs from the mid-century

As a related side note, IKEA broke my heart. I used to think it was the best, I still sort of do, but now I see a slightly different side of the store: It’s very similar to Wal-mart. It’s cheap, well designed but poorly made products. I mean, it’s better than Wal-mart since it actually has design (I’m constantly perplexed by some of the stuff that comes onto W-m’s shelves) but IKEA’s materials are still really flimsy in comparison to (my new found love) the mid-century modernist movement’s.

Back to Rams. His designs were designed to last for a long time. Of course this was slightly easier in the day since the technology rate wasn’t nearly as fast as we have now (It was revolutionary when the transistor radio came out, they had to change all of their designs to accommodate the new, smaller technology) but everything fit, worked and -if possible- was modular to work around all of the other products. Things were built with the expectation that they would last essentially forever, hardly the case now, in a society that doesn’t even buy the extended warranty (three years) on their TV since they’ll just buy a new one then.

So, moral of the story is that I’m denouncing materialism in a meek voice and I finally understand why the modernist furniture is so expensive nowadays.

Also? It’s been pointed out before, but it’s so crazy how similar Apple products are with Dieter’s work 60 years ago. At least someone appreciates it, trying to make it more mainstream.

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