“Snow White’s Coffin”  Braun SK.
“Snow White’s Coffin” Braun SK.

No. 3
Good Design is Aesthetic,
Dieter Rams

Posted by Daniel Lignini,

The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Dieter Rams & Hans Gugelot’s landmark design; the SK 6 phonograph and radio for Braun — the first hifi with a clear plexiglas lid — is an update of the original SK 4, introduced in 1956. The series was known as the “Schneewitchensarg” — translated directly: “Snow White’s Coffin”.

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Braun SK 6 phonosuper (Hans Gugelot + Dieter Rams, 1961).

Braun SK 4 phonosuper, tight crop (Hans Gugelot + Dieter Rams, 1956). The most significant design of early Braun, and the most collectible artifact from the era. Amidst functional design breakthroughs like vents punctured right into the metal, it was the first turntable with an acrylic hood–an idea of Rams’s that Gugelot worried was showy–which then became an industry standard.

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Braun SK 6 phonosuper (Hans Gugelot + Dieter Rams, 1961).

Quoting Khoi Vinh it is

“still more beautiful than any model of iPod ever”.

Furthermore Alessandro Mendini said,
“For me this phono-radio is Braun’s true masterpiece. It is an example of the chilly functionalist rigour championed by Dieter Rams, but it’s also a highly poetic object that carries conceptual, abstract aestheticism to the absolute limit. Paradoxically, Braun’s entire product range under Rams showed that methodological perfection could still produce stunningly beautiful results. This phono-radio is a perfectly-proportioned parallelepiped. It’s an immaculate sound-box, a phono-musical device that conceptualises before reproducing the musical instruments of the great German tradition. I also feel very attached to it. I’ve had one in my house for years.”

Dieter Rams: Ten Principles for Good Design – Readymag.

Khoi Vinh (born December 3, 1971 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) is a graphic designer, blogger, and former Design Director for The New York Times, where he worked from January 2006 until July 2010. Fast Company named Vinh one of “The 50 Most Influential Designers in America” in September 2011.

Alessandro Mendini (born August 16, 1931 in Milan) is an Italian designer and architect. He played an important part in the development of Italian design. He also worked, aside from his artistic career, for Casabella, Modo and Domus magazines.

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