Exploring the Legacy of Braun’s Iconic Products and Design Philosophy
In a world dominated by disposable consumer goods, where design often takes a backseat to mass production and fleeting trends, Braun stands as a testament to the enduring power of thoughtful design. Braun: Designed to Keep, a comprehensive history of the company, takes readers on a journey through the iconic products and design philosophy that have made Braun a household name for over a century. With over 400 pages and 500 images, this book showcases the timeless appeal of Braun’s creations, offering a glimpse into the minds of the designers who shaped our modern world.
The Enduring Desirability of Braun’s Early Products
As one flips through the pages of Braun: Designed to Keep, it becomes evident that many of Braun’s early products, introduced almost 70 years ago, still exude a sense of desirability. In a world filled with disposable detritus, these products stand as a testament to the power of timeless design. Take, for example, the TP1 (1959), a portable predecessor to the Walkman that combined a radio and a record player. Or the T3 transistor radio (1958), which undoubtedly influenced the iconic click wheel interface of Apple’s iPod. These products showcase Braun’s commitment to simplicity and functionality, principles that continue to resonate with consumers today.
The Artistry of Braun’s Hi-Fi Systems
Braun’s prowess in the realm of Hi-Fi systems is another aspect highlighted in the book. A wall-mounted Hi-Fi system designed in the mid-1960s epitomizes the space-age living of that era. Featuring innovative units such as the TS45, TG60, and L450, this system was a testament to Braun’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and technology. Even today, Braun’s Hi-Fi systems continue to inspire designers, as demonstrated by Virgil Abloh’s modernized version of the 60-year-old Hi-Fi, presented for Braun’s 100th anniversary.
Dieter Rams and the Braun Design Legacy
No discussion of Braun’s design legacy would be complete without mentioning Dieter Rams, the visionary designer who shaped the company’s aesthetic for over four decades. While Rams is often synonymous with Braun, Designed to Keep aims to correct the record and acknowledge the collaborative nature of Braun’s design process. Rams’ “Ten Principles of Good Design,” which emphasize simplicity and essentiality, have had a profound influence on the design world. It is worth noting that Rams’ principles found a home in Apple’s design philosophy, as Steve Jobs and Jony Ive embraced them in their iconic products.
Braun’s Evolution and Challenges
Designed to Keep also delves into Braun’s evolution over the years, highlighting the challenges the company faced. After Rams’ departure in 1997, Braun’s design ethos shifted towards a more commercialized approach, losing the essence of “less, but better.” However, recent years have seen Braun rediscover its design legacy, with products like the Braun Series 5 shavers embodying a return to the company’s roots. The book acknowledges the mistakes and setbacks while suggesting that Braun’s innovations could once again influence the industry.
Braun: Designed to Keep is not just a celebration of Braun’s rich history; it is a reminder of the power of timeless design. Through the pages of this book, readers gain a deeper understanding of the people and ideas that shaped Braun’s iconic products. The story of Braun is a testament to the enduring appeal of simplicity, functionality, and thoughtful design. As we navigate a world of disposable consumer goods, Braun’s legacy serves as a guiding light, reminding us of the importance of creating products designed to stand the test of time.