Gary Hustwit

USA, 2018 / 74 min / English, German and Japanese OV with partial English subt. / Documentary

Collaboration Design Friends

A portrait of Dieter Rams, one of the most influential designers alive, and a rumination on consumerism, sustainability, and the future of design.

For over fifty years, Dieter Rams has left an indelible mark on the field of product design and the world at large with his iconic work at Braun and Vitsœ. The objects Rams has designed have touched the lives of millions of people – from Braun coffeemakers to stereos, calculators, speakers, alarm clocks, the Oral-B toothbrush and even the Vitsœ 606 shelving system. His work has influenced the way most of today's consumer products look and function. Rams’s design principles have championed simplicity, honesty, and restraint, and still apply to design theory and practice today. Rams, now 86, is a very private person. However, he granted unprecedented access to director Gary Hustwit to create the first feature-length documentary about his life and work.

Rams is documentary about design but it is also a rumination on consumerism, materialism, and sustainability. Dieter Rams's philosophy is about more than just design, it’s about a way of life.

Fri 15/03 19:00 Ciné Utopia EN, DE & JP OV with partial EN subt. Public

“Rams is known for saying that “good design is as little design as possible”. But in Rams, addressing a world that throws away its phones every two years and can’t look away from a screen, he’s tweaked the message a bit. “Less would be better everywhere”, he says. […] “In a way, he’s kind of challenging the design world in this film, sort of laying down a challenge to do better”, says Hustwit. […] Through archival photos and footage, Braun’s sacred design team is outed as a jazz-loving, chain-smoking crew, obsessed with making stereos and lighters largely to satisfy self-interest as much as anything else. It’s clear that AMC missed the perfect opportunity for a German Mad Men spinoff. […] The biggest surprise to anyone in the audience will likely be the same thing that surprised Hustwit himself: Rams, as buttoned up as he may appear, is hilarious. At one point during the documentary, Rams is instructed to walk through the Vitra Design Museum and critique the extensive collection of priceless, influential chairs. He revels in the practice as only a designer in his golden years can. His shots at Frank Gehry and Philippe Starck–a perfect balance of academically grounded shade–filled the audience with deep belly laughs.” Mark Wilson, Fast Company, 08/10/2018

Cast & Credits
Dieter Rams, Mark Adams, Fritz Frenkler, Naoto Fukasawa, Klaus Klemp, Ingeborg Kracht-Rams, Mateo Kries, Sophie Lovell, Dietrich Lubs
Luke Geissbühler
Mike Dielhenn, Luca Torrente
Brian Eno
Film First
Gary Hustwit

Gary Hustwit is an independent filmmaker and photographer based in New York. He has produced 13 feature documentaries, including the award-winning I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002) about the band Wilco. In 2007 he made his directorial debut with Helvetica, a documentary about graphic design and typography that launched his “Design Trilogy” documentary series, followed by Objectified (2009) and Urbanized (2011). Hustwit’s films have screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the South by Southwest Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival, among others. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Helvetica (2007), and has served on the grand juries of the Sundance Film Festival, the IFP Gotham Awards, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Rams (2018), about German design legend Dieter Rams, featuring original music by Brian Eno, is his latest project.


  • 2018 – Rams (documentary)
  • 2016 – Workplace (documentary)
  • 2012 – The Landfill (documentary short)
  • 2011 – Urbanized (documentary
  • 2009 – Objectified (documentary
  • 2007 – Helvetica (documentary)