Filmmaker Gary Hustwit has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for Rams, his documentary about Dieter Rams, as well as for a preservation movement for the designer’s extensive archive. Rams, who is working with Vitsoe on the re-issue of his furniture designs, also created the Oral-B toothbrush and the Braun coffeemaker, shaver and stereo.
Dieter Rams, 2016; courtesy Gary Hustwit
The 84-year-old Rams, who designed the Vitsoe 606 shelving system, Braun ET 66 calculator and Braun RT 20 tabletop radio, was said to have inspired Apple’s chief design officer, Jonathan Ive. “[Rams] remains utterly alone in producing a body of work so consistently beautiful and so accessible,” Ive has said.
Dieter Rams at work at Braun, circa 1970s; courtesy Abisag Tüllmann
“This film is an opportunity to celebrate a designer whose work continues to impact us, and preserve an important piece of design history,” says Hustwit. “I’m also interested in exploring the role that manufactured objects play in our lives, and by extension, the relationship we have with the people who design them.”
The documentary would include one-on-one interviews with the German designer as well as insight into his design process. The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign would also in part help preserve Rams’ design archive.
Dieter Rams in the Vitsoe showroom, Frankfurt, circa early 1970s
“We hope to dig deeper into Rams’ untold story—to try and understand a man of contradictions by design,” says Hustwit. “I want the film get past the legend of Dieter. I want it to get into his philosophy, process, inspirations, and even his regrets.”
Hustwit has produced 12 feature documentaries, including Helvetica, about graphic design and typography, which is part of his design trilogy that also includes Objectified, about industrial design and product design, and Urbanized, about the design of cities.
The Kickstarter campaign has raised $100,000 of its $250,000 goal and has 25 days remaining. Rewards include limited-edition silkscreens of designs, a private tour of London’s Vitsoe workshop, a Vitsoe 621 side table, a vintage Braun RT 20 radio, and books and letterpress cards signed by the designer, among other items.