Hello, friends, Gary Hustwit here. I'm the director of the documentaries Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized. I've had the pleasure of having conversations with some of the most creative designers in the world for these films.
In 2008, I had the honor of interviewing Dieter Rams for my documentary Objectified, but I was only able to share a small piece of his story.
Dieter, who is now 84, is a very private person; however, I have been granted unprecedented and exclusive access to Dieter for the first feature-length documentary about his life and work.
The documentary is simply titled Rams.
We've recently filmed Dieter for several weeks in his home and studio, but we still have a ton of filming left to go, which is why we are turning to Kickstarter.
The documentary will include in-depth conversations with Dieter, and detail the process behind some of his most iconic designs. We want to get past the legend of Dieter, and get into his philosophy, process, inspirations, and even his regrets.
This Kickstarter campaign will not only support the making of this documentary but also help efforts to preserve his design archive––a majority of which the public has never seen.
For over fifty years Dieter has left an indelible mark on the field of product design and the world at large with his iconic work at Braun and Vitsoe.
The objects Dieter has designed have touched the lives of millions of people––so many of us have had a Braun coffeemaker, shaver, stereo, calculator, speakers, or alarm clock. Or an Oral-B toothbrush. Or a Vitsoe 606 shelving system. Or any of the hundreds of other products Dieter has designed or overseen the design of.
Dieter's influence also extends to his "Ten Principles of Good Design." Sometimes referred to as the Ten Commandments, this “veritable scripture” champions simplicity, honesty, and restraint, and still applies to design theory and practice today.
This Kickstarter campaign will fund the film and also help to preserve Dieter's incredible design archive for the future. There's a trove of drawings, photographs, and other material spanning Dieter's fifty plus years of work, and it needs to be properly conserved.
To that end, we're working with the Dieter and Ingeborg Rams Foundation to help them catalog, digitize, and save these documents. The public has never seen most of this material, and we intend to share some of these discoveries with our backers during the process of making the film.
"Documentarian Gary Hustwit is just the person to make [Rams]." - Wired
"Dieter Rams Is Finally Getting The Feature Film He Deserves” - Fast Co. Design
"Designer Dieter Rams to Take Center Stage in New Gary Hustwit Documentary"- Curbed
"So far the director says he has seen two sides to Rams’ character – sensitivity combined with sheer bloody-mindedness. 'It’s that combination that makes him so interesting,' says Hustwit." - design week
"As one of the most influential designers of our time, Dieter Rams has never been subject of a dedicated documentary." - It's Nice That
"Hustwit and his crew have been given unprecedented access to the notoriously private 84-year-old German." - Hypebeast
"'There’s a trove of drawings, photographs, and other material spanning Dieter’s fifty plus years of work, and it needs to be properly conserved,' Hustwit says." - Creative Review
"filmmaker gary hustwit, known for his design trilogy ‘helvetica’, ‘urbanized’ and ‘objectified’, plans to create a full-feature documentary about the legendary german designer dieter rams." - designboom
Where We Are with the Project
We've spent many weeks filming Dieter in his home and studio outside Frankfurt, and working alongside Mark Adams at Vitsoe in London. At 84, Dieter is as brilliant, playful, and focused as he's ever been. He's energized by the idea of passing down his knowledge to future generations of designers through this film.
One of the most interesting parts of Dieter's story is that he now looks back on his career with some regret. "If I had to do it over again, I would not want to be a designer," he told me in Objectified. He has also long been an advocate for the ideas of environmental consciousness, sustainability, and long-lasting products. "There are too many unnecessary products in this world." We hope to dig deeper into Dieter’s untold story––to try and understand a man of contradictions by design.
I want to let Dieter tell his own story, but I'll also be interviewing other people to give that story more context and plan to announce the list of the other interview subjects later this year.
If this Kickstarter is successful I can jump straight back into shooting, finish production of the film, and cover archival preservation costs.
We are offering some incredible, exclusive rewards through this campaign, including posters and limited edition prints designed by our good friend (and massive Rams fan) Michael C. Place of Build, books signed by Dieter himself, a tour of the Vitsoe factory, new and vintage objects from Vitsoe and Braun, and much more.
We'll also be hosting private screenings and receptions for the film in San Francisco, New York, and London.
We are so excited to work with you to make this campaign as successful as possible. So, please join me.
Celebrate a designer whose work continues to impact our lives. Preserve an important piece of design history for future generations.
Music in our Kickstarter video by ARP.
Special thanks for all their help with this project:
Dr. Peter Kapos
Michael C. Place
And of course to Dieter, for allowing me to tell his story.
Risks and challenges
Kickstarter asks that all reward tiers include the latest delivery of the listed rewards. The film poster, Dieter’s jazz mix, and the digital copy of the film are all estimated to be delivered by September 2017. All the other rewards will be shipped by October 2016, or sooner.
There are minimal risks here––our team has produced 12 feature-length documentaries so we know the process pretty well!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)