Rams: Event Review

On a Wednesday evening in February 2019, a full capacity crowd turned out for the Sussex premiere of the screening of Rams, a film about the legendary product designer, Dieter Rams. The design-led event was held in collaboration with Locate East Sussex, Towner Gallery, De La Warr Pavilion, Charleston and Design Brighton.

The capacity audience included fans of the great designer including craft makers, graphic designers, sculptors to computer engineers, and others interested in the legendary designer's pioneering approach to design. For many, his ten principles of good design provided confirmation of how Rams' ethos aligned with that of their own - how good design is thoughtful, responsible and intelligent. The film showed that good design is innovation ((principle number one) but that the ten principles would be nothing without a great environment, and for the many creative businesses present, East Sussex offers just that. The county is a haven for those looking for space to breathe both literally and metaphorically. 

Whilst we can follow the ten principles, the film also subtly portrays how good design doesn't happen in a vacuum. Instead, good design is only facilitated by good collaboration. The documentary represents both Rams’ intelligence and humour and shows that he did not exist as a one-man-band. His ideas were always collaborative, looking to fulfil his ten principles and teaching them to others. His name has been used sometimes unwillingly to create an aura (not unjustified), to bolster the brands (Braun and Vitsoe) that he worked for, but Rams did not take credit from the co-designers and the teams that he worked with. He was no stranger to creating designs that challenged engineers while bridging his design thinking with simple, practical application.

The tenth and final principle is 'Good design is as little design as possible’, and Rams operated in an environment that gave him the chance to explore, to collaborate with others, away from being burdened with overbearing expectations and disruptive workspace (principle 5, unobtrusive). In many ways, this is the East Sussex landscape for creativity that we at Locate East Sussex, Towner Art Gallery, De La Warr Pavilion, Charleston and Design Brighton envisaged, a place with room for self-expression.

Locate East Sussex is working with Design Brighton, which is coming in March next year. The event will look ‘into urban design and the role that architects, developers, creatives and designers play in shaping, defining and rejuvenating the built environment’.

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