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The seventies, the decade when cars were too big, pants too wide and side burns too long. But also the decade of Braun, the design powerhouse led by Dieter Rams that created some of the most iconic pieces of consumer electronics ever designed. Unfortunately that design sensibility is long gone and since it was purchased by P&G it has joined the rank of many other dull consumer brands, churning out bland and dull design. Not ‘good design’ as Dieter Rams called it.
Ten principles defined Dieter Rams’ approach to “good design”:
- Good design is innovative
- Good design makes a product useful
- Good design is aesthetic
- Good design helps us to understand a product
- Good design is unobtrusive
- Good design is honest
- Good design is durable
- Good design is consequent to the last detail
- Good design is concerned with the environment
- Good design is as little design as possible
Back to purity, back to simplicity
In 1971 Braun introduced the AB1 Alarm Clock, designed to do what is required — keep accurate time and wake you up in the morning — no more no less. By adhering to design principles, Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs, created an icon of modern design.
For nearly 30 years Dieter Rams served as head of design for Braun until his retirement in 1998. He continues to be a legend in design circles and most recently designed a cover for Wallpaper* magazine. Many of his designs — clocks, coffee makers, calculators, radios, audio/visual equipment and office products — have found a permanent home at many museums over the world, including MoMA in New York.
Now the last batch of the AB1 was recently sold and we got our hands on a good chunk of them. If you want to get your hands on what is undoubtedly the most quintessential alarm clock ever designed before they are all gone – forever – then act fast, those won’t last long.
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