Posted on: February 22nd, 2013 by William Mitchell
We don’t just practise what we preach in business, but also in our spare time. There is no better way to get to know how things work, than pulling them apart every now and then. What started out as a ‘tidy up’ became a full on overhaul and re-paint on my Ducati 748.
Dieter Rams is a famous German Industrial Designer that is continually associated with the Braun brand and the functionalist school of industrial design. Although originally following a career in architecture and interior design he was pulled into Braun where he became chief of design after only 5 years, keeping the position until 1995. He states that his designs can be attributed to his inspirational grandfather who was a carpenter, a profession that Rams briefly left university to pursue an apprenticeship in. This flare for the practical aspect of design has resulted in Rams receiving countless achievements and awards for not only his designs but also his monumental contribution to the wider design community.
A selection of Dieters tantalising designs
Dieter has left behind a magnificent legacy, including a large range of Apple products that seem to have been inspired by his retro designs. His explanation of his own designs “less, but better” echoes his minimalist themes and offers an insight into his process of designing.
What do these remind you of…?
In reference to his contribution to the design community, Rams highlighted 10 key principles to allow others to follow in his significant footsteps:
Is innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technology is always offering new opportunities for innovative design.
Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy the users criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
Is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being.
Makes a product understandable – it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
Is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools, their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
Is honest – It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated.
Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials?
Following these designs principles, no design can go wrong regardless of what field or industry that it is in. Dieter Rams is one of 4c’s favourite design icons who has set the standard for design excellence and has paved the way for successful and effective designs for following generations. In short, he gets a thumb up from us!
In the words of Darth Vader – “the force is strong with this one”
A big 4c congratulations to Felix Baumgartner for breaking the sound barrier yesterday, as heplummeted to earth from 125,000 feet, 23 miles up (European translation = 38 kilometres).
Felix Baumgartner is a 43 year old Austrian skydiver that can easily be described as being part of the elite of adrenalin junkies. Apart from this most recent record breaking stunts, he holds a number of other world records including the highest BASE jump from a building, lowest BASE jump, first person to skydive across the English Channel and the first person to skydive onto and then BASE jump off of the ‘Turning Torso’ building in Sweden. This list of accolades made him the perfect, and most qualified, man for the job for the Red Bull jump.
Although it may have been the weight of Baumgartner’s gargantuan balls that helped him reach these unimaginable speeds, it was the hard work and dedication of his support team that provided him with the gear and training required to survive the ordeal. This team is made up of world leading experts in medicine, science and engineering in addition to a NASA crew surgeon, famous aviators and the man whose record Felix is trying to beat.
Baumgartner’s team helped him create an arsenal of interesting and innovative gear that has been specifically designed and fabricated for this jump… although there’s a good chance that many of these developments will worm their way into other applications. It was this equipment that clutched our interest here at 4c:
This information was taken from the Red Bull site, visit here for more details.
Felix Baumgartner’s full-pressure suit and helmet was his personal life support system. Once Felix jumped this system was his only protection until he reached the safety of the lower atmosphere. It was specifically designed to withstand the speeds that he was expected to reach in addition to protecting him from temperatures ranging from 100°F to -90°F, prevent the onset of the Bends, and also allowed the suit to rapidly re-pressurise as it fell through the different layers of the atmosphere. The suit was also custom made to allow him to retain the mobility that skydivers need which most pressure suits do not cater for.
Pressure Helmet and Visor
Felix’s Helmet was designed to be incredibly strong yet lightweight to improve mobility and to provide oxygen from both liquid oxygen tanks on the ascent and pressurised gaseous oxygen tanks for the free fall. The helmet was also kitted out with a variable sunshade, heating circuits to avoid fogging and icing (which unfortunately failed ), a microphone and headset for communicating with the ground team and a drinking port so that he can stay hydrated during the 3 hour ascent.
No previous personal parachute system has ever been used for a supersonic free fall from the edge of space. Years of development and testing have resulted in innovations including revolutionary drogue technology to preventing spinning and help Felix rapidly decelerate . If Felix experiences too much G force, sensors will automatically deploy these drogues however this will severely hamper his ability to reach the sound barrier. Felix’s rig including, main and reserve parachutes plus oxygen tanks weighed 36 kilograms, 4 times that of a regular sky diver.
The 6ft capsule that Felix will sit in has been specifically designed to reduce the onset of decompression sickness and provide him with a platform to sit on and breathe easy before he inflated his pressure suit. This high tech gondola allowed him to control his ascent, monitor his progress and send pictures and video back down to mission control. To aid in its safe return to earth the capsule used parachutes and crush pads – sacrificial structure made of honeycombed fibreglass and designed to squash on impact to absorb forces of up to 8G’s. During development, the crush pad engineers performed more than 150 test drops to perfect the design.
As Red Bull is a previous client of ours we like to keep a close eye on their activities and enjoy seeing them supporting yet another world record breaker! Our passion for innovative contraptions have allowed us to become big fans of some of Red Bull’s other events - X fighters, Air Race and the reliably entertaining Flugtag.
Once again, well done Felix!!
Below is the jump recreated in Lego
In the words of Han Solo – “She’ll make point five past lightspeed.”
Tannoy’s Precision 6‘s are due to go on sale soon and so we thought we would share some photos with you. These are Tannoy’s latest residential speaker, designed to fit performance wise between the Mercury’s and Definition’s. At 4c we are proud to say that we are responsible for the industrial design behind the speakers and so cannot help but show them off. Featured in these photos are the 6.2’s (floorstanders) and 6.1’s (bookshelf), also within the range are 6.4’s (slightly larger than 6.2’s and featuring 4 drivers) and the 6c (centre speaker and 3 drivers).
We have just gotten our hands on some 6.4’s so plan to upload a video shortly. Watch this space!
If you would like more technical information please visit our dedicated Tannoy Precision case study for all the details.