Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Design Is Culture • Lutz Rudolph

Lutz Rudolph, a charming, little, silver bearded man, started working as a freelance designer back in the early sixties in the former GDR.  This unusual independence, most design was done inhouse by permanent employees,  was as beneficial as it was hindering. While many design concepts never became real, like the pictured concept car from 1966, it offered the chance to work in total different fields from cutlery to radios to cars to lamps. Even so often ignored by the bureaucratic system, Lutz and his fellow Clauss Dietel managed to create an impressive collection of well designed products that can best described as literal simply beautiful. The beauty of their creations was always based in their functional quality. Lutz never was a luxury designer, he put as much effort into the usability as into the production process. For the series, design for mass production, was his declared goal, assuring that his designs became affordable.  And so, against great odds, the duo  inspired the average life in the GDR with a gentle touch of Bauhaus. Today, many of their creations are considered design icons. Lately Lutz spend most of his time together with his wife in an enchanted, century old cottage on the island Ruegen. Those who managed to find the way to his hideaway were rewarded with long night chats at the chimney. Scintillatingly witty talks about art, culture and all with a sincere artist from head to toe.
Lutz Rudolph passed away on Monday 7th of March in Gera. He will be deeply missed.

photo: Trabant P 603, Steilheckvariante, design by Dietel and Rudolph 1966.  Clauss Dietel und Lutz Rudolph - Gestaltung ist Kultur, Chemnitz 2002

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