Less but Better: Design Made in Frankfurt, 1925–1985

27 April 2013 - 13 September 2015

Frankfurt looks back on a distinguished design tradition which has consistently focussed on functionality and tended towards a rigorous aesthetic.

Temporally, the exhibition module took as its point of departure the “New Frankfurt” of the 1920s, a trailblazing project with regard to product design and typography alike.
A large number of articles for the modern household were designed in Frankfurt in that era. The Adler Works was one of the largest car manufacturers, the Bauer Foundry came out with the most important reform font of the day – “Futura” –, and the team around Hans Leistikow was responsible for graphic design throughout the public realm.

The magazine Das Neue Frankfurt became one of the most prominent forums for discussion on the new currents in design. In 1955, it was the Braun Company of Frankfurt which broke entirely new ground and developed a design approach characterized by visual longevity and simple user guidance.

In the process, Dieter Rams – head of design at Braun – coined the phrase we have chosen as the motto of this exhibition module: “Less but better”.

Yet the graphic design of the post-war era also attained the highest standards, for example in Günter Kieser’s jazz posters or Gunter Rambow’s theatre posters and other creations. Throughout its duration, the exhibition remained in a constant state of transformation, drawing on its wealth of examples again and again to illuminate new aspects and introduce various protagonists of the “Frankfurt design spirit”. The prelude was an an overview presentation to be followed by shows with individual thematic focusses.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Klemp

Kirsten Kötter, Julia Schulz und Thibaut de Ruyter

The exhibition is being realized with generous support from the internationally active law firm Clifford Chance.