LESS, BUT BETTER – ‘RAMS’ Screening at the Arts University Bournemouth 20th November 2019

On the 20th November 2019, the AUB hosted a free screening of Gary Hustwit’s 2018 film ‘RAMS’ which is a documentary portrayal of Dieter Rams, one of the most influential designers alive, and a rumination on consumerism, sustainability, and the future of design.

We have to admit, the whole Aetha Design team had already seen it. We watched it last year when it was first released having paid for a copy online and really enjoyed it. We knew that it would be a great thing if we could help bring this film to the attention of more people – whether they were interested in design or not. Don’t get us wrong, this is a film about design however the beauty of this film is you don’t have to be a budding designer or architect to get it… it doesn’t just explain the 10 principles of good design which Dieter Rams is well known for, it also explores who Dieter is and how and why he is known for being one of the most influential designers in the world.

The audience were greeted to a table of wine, beer and soft drinks kindly laid on by the AUB. There was 20 minutes of networking and then the audience descended into the lecture theatre for a 30 minute panel debate about Dieter Rams and the film. AUB’s Dean of Art and Design of Architecture Dr Christian McLening chaired the panel, which was made up of MoDiP Curator Louise Dennis, MA Design & Innovation’s Fran Conrad & our very own Tom Parsons, Founder of Aetha Design.

The panel discussed the 10 principles of design and the panelists picked out the principles which meant the most to them as designers including Dieter’s preference to his designs being honest & sustainable. We have listed the 10 principles at the bottom of this blog if you aren’t familiar with them.

Shortly after a brief refreshments break, the screening of the film began. It was great to hear the audience chuckle and enjoy Dieter’s sense of humour. His character, although very private is likeable and everything he does and says is true to his ways. Hustwit manages to capture not only Dieter’s character perfectly in this film but also how Dieter’s character affects those around him most noticeably but not limited to Vitsœ’s Managing Director, Mark Adams. There is a very amusing scene in the film where Adams is trying so hard to prove that everything he is trying to achieve with Vitsoe is following the 10 Principles set out by Dieter.

We particularly like Dieters house and his Japanese influenced garden along with his beautiful Porsche – as a member of the audience you couldn’t help but notice how quiet everyone got as the documentary film went on which was very pleasing for us to hear and see. The audience enjoyed Dieters sense of humour, general character and we really got the sense you begin to start to want to think like him.

The film ends with a beautiful song and a scene of Dieter walking off into the woods on a path with his walking stick. We like to think that whatever the audience took away from the film, we hope that some of what Dieter says about the issue with consumerism in this in day and age hits home. You cannot help but agree with him about brands screaming at consumers with larger and larger logos and how overcomplicating a design often leads to confusion. He says again and again, we need to buy less – “LESS, BUT BETTER.”

We invited some of our local clients last night and we were glad that a few of them came along – if you haven’t seen this documentary we highly recommend you try and watch it. If you have brought a product from Apple, Muji, or to be honest any brand in the past 20 years – there will be an element of Dieter within the design.

Thanks to everyone who made it last night and for the team on the panel. Special thanks goes to Dan & Lucy from the AUB who embraced our idea last year to screen this film. We are so glad you believed in it. AUB’s Innovation Manager Lucy Devall said: “This screening was an opportunity for AUB to share and discuss Dieters principles with other professionals and those interested in design and its impact on consumer culture and the environment.”

Bournemouth & the local area of Poole are beautiful areas for design and creative inspiration. Our whole team love working and living here and we are so glad that other people in the area are open to talking about design and the impact design has.

In the follow-up, the AUB are hosting a free design workshop for the industry ‘Ramifications of Design: drawing inspiration from Dieter Rams’, which will be co-hosted by us here at Aetha and the Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP) on 4th December at The Arts University. Book your free place here. 

AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF DIETER RAMS’ TEN PRINCIPLES FOR GOOD DESIGN

  1. Good design is innovative. Technology and design move in tandem, the former providing new opportunities for the latter.
  2. Good design makes a product useful. A product is bought to be used. Good design emphasises this usefulness, whilst disregarding anything that detracts from it.
  3. Good design is aesthetic. A product’s aesthetic quality has an effect on the people that use it. It’s an integral part of its usefulness.
  4. Good design makes a product understandable. It’s function should be self-explanatory.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive. Products that fulfil a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art.
  6. Good design is honest. It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is.
  7. Good design is long lasting. It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated.
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  10. Good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better — because it concentrates on the essential aspects.
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