Dezeen Magazine

Trailers reveal snippets of upcoming Dieter Rams documentary

Filmmaker Gary Hustwit has released a series of trailers offering a preview of an upcoming feature-length documentary that focuses on the life and career of German designer Dieter Rams.

The documentary, titled Rams, is the first such film to be made about the life and work of the 85-year-old, who is viewed by many as one of the most influential industrial designers of the 20th century.

Accompanied with music composed by Brian Eno, it will include in-depth conversations with Rams and will offer insight into the process behind some of his iconic designs, selected from the hundreds of products he created for brands including Braun and Vitsoe.

"Dieter Rams is one of the most influential designers on the planet," said Hustwit, who first met Rams in 2008, while filming a documentary called Objectified about the creative minds behind manufactured objects.

"He's had such an amazing career and has influenced so many other designers that I just felt he deserved a full documentary," added the director, who was only able to use a few minutes of footage of Rams in Objectified.

The first trailer provides an ambient introduction to the look and feel of the film, with imagery of light filtering through treetops and Rams uttering a typically enigmatic line: "Simplicity is the key to brilliance".

Rams is known for his Ten Principles for Good Design, which he developed in the late 1970s to express his own ideas about the need for well-executed, beautiful, long-lasting products.

His ideas are particularly evident in the many products he developed and oversaw during his time as head of design at Braun from 1961 to 1995.

Several of these objects – including radios, record players and calculators – appear in the second clip, alongside the Model 601 chair and 606 Universal Shelving System he designed for Vitsoe

The third trailer depicts the designer walking through the streets of London while expressing his disappointment at the way in which technology is causing people to forego genuine social interaction.

Rams is seen by many as a major influence on the pared-back aesthetic of Apple's products, however, he has previously claimed that there needs to be a greater focus on well-designed products rather than relentless technological innovation.

He is also known as a deeply private person, but Hustwit was able to spend time with him at his home and studio discussing his work to gain unprecedented insight into his philosophy, process, inspirations, and his regrets.

"In the film, I really want to have Dieter tell his story in his own words," added Hustwit, who has also produced documentaries examining the challenges resulting from urban expansion, (Urbanized, 2011) and exploring the history of an iconic Swiss typeface (Helvetica, 2007).

"I want to try to dig deeper and get past the legend of Dieter Rams and talk about growing up post-world war two, his influence from the Bauhaus and the Ulm School, and what it was like working with some incredible design teams at Braun and Vitsoe."

The film was made possible by funding generated through a Kickstarter campaign, which offered rewards including books signed by Rams, a tour of the Vitsoe factory, and a limited edition print of the Ten Principles for Good Design.

More than 5,000 backers pledged over $270,000 – easily surpassing the $200,000 goal set on the crowdfunding platform.

According to Hustwit, the monies raised from the Kickstarter campaign will also be used to help preserve Rams' design archive.

The director is working with the Dieter and Ingeborg Rams Foundation to help catalogue, digitise and preserve drawings, photographs and other material produced during a career that has spanned more than 50 years.