Exquisite Detail

­A book on Dieter Rams—now available Stateside—offers an exhaustive overview of the master’s work.

Fans of Dieter Rams—including newbies who have just discovered his sublime influence on their beloved iPods—will want to get their hands on Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams, the first comprehensive monograph on the designer’s work. Released last November to accompany the roving exhibition of the same title (on view this month at the Fuchu Art Museum, in Tokyo), the book is now exclusively available in the United States at the Shop at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum ($95, www.cooperhewittshop.org). It thoroughly examines the designer’s career—his long tenure at Braun, his independent work for Vitsœ—within the larger context of German Modernism.

But for those more interested in a visual feast than a wealth of facts, Less and More catalogs Rams’s work with sketches and diagrams that accompany excellent color photos and extreme close-ups of each product. “The detail photos show the emotional background of Dieter Rams’s designs,” says Klaus Klemp, cocurator of the exhibit. “Functional design often looks very mechanical. Rams’s designs have a soul. He composes using little color schemes—one knob is red, the other green. I think it’s the same as with Naoto Fukasawa or Jonathan Ive—they are creating pictures that last a long time.”

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