Domestic Scale

Posted in Domestic Scale by Super on August 12, 2014

Dieter Rams 1     Dieter Rams 3

German designer Dieter Rams (1932 – ) epitomised the modernist aesthetic within his designs that adhered to principle of ‘form follows function’.

As head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, Rams emerged as one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century by defining an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language for its products (Design Museum, 2014).

Rams’ objective was to design useful products, which would be easy to operate (Design Museum, 2014). Rams embraced the modernist aesthetic of ‘less is more’ Rams’ designs always looked effortless with an exquisite simplicity borne from rigorous tests and experiments with new materials and an obsessive attention to detail to ensure that each piece appeared flawlessly coherent. Dieter Rams remains an enduring inspiration for younger designers, notably Jonathan Ive and Jasper Morrison, who have acknowledged his influence in their work at Apple and Rowenta respectively (Design Museum, 2014).

My work focuses on the use of Rams radio design series for Braun, including RT20 table radio, 1961, as a framework to construct narratives that modify the designer original intentions by creating variant surfaces on the object. I am interested in how I can construct narratives by adding new layers to these objects in order to imbue them with personal significance. Through the placement of text and pattern that interrupts the modernist aesthetic, I envisage how we are able to occupy and personalise these objects to our own agenda.


Everything popular is wrong (Oscar Wilde) Wood, Perspex, working clock, 2013


Aim Higher / Aim Lower. Wood, Perspex, 2013, 130 x 250 x 95 mm


There is a possibility something will fuck up today. Wood, Perspex, working clock, 2013

Dieter Rams Clocks 3

Dieter Rams Clocks 4

Glenn Walls’ series of sculptures could be mistaken at first glance, for everyday domestic appliances. Based on the RT20 radio designed by Dieter Rams in 1961, Walls interrogates the tenets of Modernism by transforming the radio into a functioning clock and applying disruptive text that subverts the minimalist simplicity of the design. In works such as There is a Possibility Something Will Fuck Up Today, 2013, this modification serves to unpick Modernism’s master narratives – such as the notion of creating a definitive design prototype appropriate for every person and context as seen in the International Style of Le Corbusier. Fittingly, this series is juxtaposed next to iconic furniture such as Grand Confort, 1928-30, by Le Corbusier, Jeanneret and Perriand, plus Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair, 1925-26, that forms part of the exhibition design schema. Through visual and conceptual interference, Walls is able to personalise the aesthetic principles of Modernism, harnessing their attributes to serve his own agenda.