A little over a year ago three German students tested the design viability of a shiny black cube. They asked established designers and design critics to assess the cube. Above is the video with design legend Dieter Rams.
I agree with Steve Heller, you’ll never look at a cube the same way again (or will you?).
Read more: Daily Heller: In CUBE We Trust
UPDATE: They just launched their site: the-black-cube.com
I agree 100% with the simplicity of the cube. Its honest and pure. But as objects in the physical world get simplified, we add complexity to the apps we require. What would a Dieter Rams app look like?
Sep 1st, 2011 / 11:18 pm
I think the statement “Wir brauchen nur eine Gute Kaffeemachine”. We don’t need 16 coffee machines but only one good one.
I believe in consumer products that are useful and have a meaningful purpose there really is a case for “the best”. More interestingly, the best is usually not made in China but made in USA, Germany etc. .
Examples: After trying 15 different can openers I settle for a US designed and made one. It cost me 3 times more than every other I ever bought. However, now 3 years later it’s still going strong and opens cans like no other.
BTW, funny set of videos.
Sep 1st, 2011 / 11:22 pm
Oh… one more thing: A product design professor of mine once said it well: “As a designer I want to strife for simplicity … yet complexity is what sells products.”
Sep 1st, 2011 / 11:25 pm
Pls. read design rule nr. 11 as: “Buy less, buy better”.
Sep 2nd, 2011 / 4:54 am
I think in time when we are facing “crisis” the most important thing is what sven oliver said. We should make better choices when it comes to buying products. For example I think I can not afford to buy cheap things. Why? Because it’s better to buy one expresso machine for 10 years than one in every year. You pay more in the moment of buying but you save money for years.
This is the chance for USA or whole Europe to offer best quality. We can not win with price – let face it. But we can offer a better quality and well-considered design.
Sep 2nd, 2011 / 5:26 am
WieViel pair of spectacles brauchen wir Dieter?
Sep 2nd, 2011 / 7:20 am
If Dieter Rams is not intending for us to understand what he says here as a bit tongue in cheek then it looks like he is beginning to loose his marbles. How is a black cube more or less honest than any other black platonic form?
I get that in the design and construction of products that a cube offers some insights but this goes without saying. By vocalising this as he has, Dieter Rams is looking to establish himself as a pseudo-mystical design guru. He has made great contributions to design thinking in the past but what he’s saying here is completely unnecessary. Surely he should recognise this.
Design doesn’t need new associations. It does what it’s supposed to do and that is to give form to material things. To some extent design is also responsible for configuring things that already have form but this is by far the weaker definition of design. This latter definition is also the most confused aspect of the value design adds to created things.
What should be obvious to most people is that design is a given nowadays. In this sense design is over. Sustainability is what determines the effectiveness of design in terms of the function, construction and marketability of products. The limitations of the role of design in the creation of products and services has been identified. It’s time to get over design.
The black cube can show us the way?!… Get real.
Sep 2nd, 2011 / 8:13 am
Look at this fancy cube with its fancy faces and edges to please our sense of space… geometry clearly sold out after the sphere :-)
Sep 2nd, 2011 / 2:06 pm
I know it’s not really the point but a black cube is actually a jarring form with a lot of accompanying issues. It blocks light, the edges are sharp and minimalist artists have used it to represent an aggressive masculine presence.
Sep 3rd, 2011 / 7:46 am
OK, so I think you all just do not recognize obvious parody or you are playing along which I can’t find that funny :-)
Sep 4th, 2011 / 5:33 pm
well said. Great find.
(BTW, I was peaking at the English translation, but mainly listened to what he was saying, I find that the translator took a lot of artistic freedom).
Jan, I think you need to watch the other “Black Cube” videos too. I love reflecting on these things. Obviously, I’m not taking myself too serious all the time, but in this case, I would not classify it as a farce.
Sep 4th, 2011 / 9:00 pm
Hello & thanks for the discussion!
As the initiators of the project we would love to invite you to The Black Cube‘s website – http://www.the-black-cube.com –, where it is documented in its entire context.
Sep 5th, 2011 / 6:10 am
I could tell that there must have been an entire series behind it, but there was no link in vimeo. (on a side note, when looking for “Cube Dieter Rams” on the new Vimeo section of my Apple TV, nothing shows up. Weird).
Sep 5th, 2011 / 8:04 am
The makers behind the video just launched their Black Cube Site: http://www.the-black-cube.com/
Sep 5th, 2011 / 11:36 am
Why does this feel like a Banksy-style parody? This is Mr. Brainwash in product form. If they really want to take this to the next level, they should sell recreations of the black cube and then create a shell company that just sells cubes in different variants. “Forget black, cubes now come in color and textures!” Trick a bunch of designers into buying functionless cubes for the sake of form and trend. It’d prove all the “ethical/thoughtful” designers who “want less products” to be gullible hypocrites…
Sep 8th, 2011 / 2:18 pm
so funny, how some people assume this to be a real quest. i love how steve heller is raving about how you can place a coffee machine on top of it OR under it! wow! people really? has the design world become so desperately artsy now that it takes everything, that includes big names with hypocritical objects for real? also, the dutch accent of van stammen is priceless. i think i have to change profession if this is what design is becoming.
Sep 9th, 2011 / 5:25 pm