Dieter Rams is one of the most influential product designers of the twentieth century and as head of design for 34 years at Braun, he produced a vast array of well-formed products. The extensive Braun Archive and the house of Dieter Rams in Kronberg, Germany, contain the world’s most complete collection of Rams' work and designs for Braun. Photographer Florian Böhm was invited to document the archive, providing a previously unseen look at the world of Dieter Rams.
'It was exciting to browse through the densely preserved collection of Braun design history - which is mostly Dieter Rams',' enthuses Böhm. 'Larger objects in the archive stood out, corridors of TVs for example, but a lot of the archived products were concealed in boxes or in shelves, and often in closed storage units. Only a small amount was easily accessible with the camera, more or less by chance, when openly placed, in transition from one place to another or more visibly wrapped in clear plastic.'
Rams is famous for his design principles in the sometimes messy and out-of-control world we inhabit, which are succinctly summarised in the maxim: 'good design is as little design as possible'.
Böhm continues: 'My interest was the condition of the archive, the site itself and the kind of mutated nature these objects seem to have developed within the archive arrangements and their new purpose in this context. I am fascinated with the reality of a physical archive and the analog logistics involved - the labelling, shelving, lighting, protection and accessibility. The preserved objects remain unused and seem to convert to pure information, as carriers of cultural identity.'
Rams' house - his only piece of architecture - is remarkable for the detail and the design principles applied to it. 'One idea was to follow Rams through the house while he was telling personal anecdotes about objects that are meaningful to him,' Böhm explains of his approach to photographing the house. 'A zoom into the higher resolution of the space, a macro view on the personal arrangement of things, beyond the ridged functional first impression of the space, for example, the workshop in the basement of his house, is full of interesting objects and traces of Rams.'
These especially commissioned photographs for Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible explore the Braun archive and Rams' house, focussing on the details which would otherwise be overlooked.