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By accident or design

What does it take for an iconic design? As little
 design as possible, coupled with a philosophy that focuses on aesthetics, usability and innovation. Ideally, the result is something beautiful, a classic in the 
truest sense of the word.

Text: Lutz Fügener Photo: Presse 26.07.2019 2 min

Let’s start where everything ends: at the edges. When it comes to design, the edges are fringy and it’s hard to draw a line. Some call design the purposeful or inventive arrangement of parts or details. Others call it blueprints for showing the look, function or workings of objects before they are produced. Whichever way you slice it, you can never fully trust this term, as its meaning intrinsically depends on the context. Some have very high standards, as you can read in “The 10 principles of good product design” by globally renowned industrial designer Dieter Rams, who states in his tenth principle: “Good design is as little design as possible.” That’s some food for thought.

Dyson Air Multiplier

Looks different, works different. Dyson breaks with conventional concepts of what a fan has to look like by questioning generic design and skilfully creating a controversy.

Leica M10 compact camera

The Leica M10 easily shakes off the retro label. There simply is no better way to exemplify the difference between modern and modish. The camera body, with a size and shape designed to fit the 35 mm roll of film, has long freed itself from the old technology thanks to its ergonomic qualities.

Braun Sixtant electric shaver

A programmatic denial of ornamentation – the embodiment of “as little design as possible”. By Dieter Rams.


The Chronograph I was the beginning of the success story of Porsche design. It was the world’s first black watch – matte black, to be precise. Its colouring picked up on the pitch-black appearance of the non-reflective instruments of the racing car. At its core is a mechanical automated mechanism, the extremely accurate ETA Valjaux 7750. The Chronography I represents three core qualities: functionality, timelessness and purism. Perhaps that’s why racing drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Mario Andretti chose this watch as their timekeeper.

Juicy Salif Citrus Press by Philippe Starck

This iconic kitchen sculpture for design-conscious hobby chefs toes the line between art and design. And you can use it to squeeze your lemons, too.