Dieter Rams, the now 90-year-old 20th Century industrial designer, has always believed less is more. In fact, the sentiment became his unofficial design ethos, whether in his work with Vitsoe or Braun. ("Weniger, aber besser," or "Less, but better," in English.) His designs for the latter company inspired eventual Apple head Jony Ive, the designer behind the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook and more.
But Apple isn't the only brand Rams influenced. Harry's Senior Industrial Designer, Frank Zaremba, is also a follower. He channeled Rams in the brand's new The Craft razor handle, which is "premium" for the company — but still only costs $15. It's made from chrome-coated zinc with a dotted grip pattern reminiscent of the perforated holes that appeared on Rams-designed Braun speakers and a long, curved "belly" for better hand feel.
"Our team has been planning and developing a more elevated handle within our handle family for the past six years," Zaremba tells Gear Patrol. "We loved the simplicity and beauty of these architectural dots and were inspired to use them as a starting point."
Zaremba struggled to find a manufacturer that could make the 3D dots at scale. Eventually, he found a supplier willing to invent new processes to accommodate the request. Mode Lab, an industrial design studio in Portland Oregon, stepped up to assist.
"Our dotted grip was an important game-changer and our biggest technical hurdle," Zaremba says. "The Craft Handle handle incorporates the metal finish in a more refined way, integrating the raised grip pattern seamlessly into the sleek casing and smart ergonomics for a more controlled shave."
It's an evolution from Harry's other razor handles, The Winston ($13) and The Truman ($9). The Craft is all-metal, which means there's no rubberized grip. Without it, though, now a single-piece metal body, the handle looks more sophisticated, even if it functions essentially the same. (The Craft works with the same blades as The Winston and The Truman. It is, however, a bit heavier, but the weight is better balanced.
For Zaremba, this version strikes the "perfect balance between ergonomics and visual harmony." He has high hopes for this design, and where Harry's customers put it: "Craft’s curves and lustrous finish give it the scope to mix with marble or chrome, ceramic or cement and hold its own among the sculpturally pure packaging of a grown-up grooming regime," he says.
It's not like Harry's past releases were too youthful or toy-like, but the all-metal aesthetic is decidedly adult. And the references to Dieter Rams obviously attract an older demographic. Zaremba wants it to attract a new audience: "The design-conscious guy who doesn’t like flashiness or excess, but does like things to look good," he explains.
His sentiment struck a cord, at least with me, someone who appreciates a clean save, despite having minimal facial hair to maintain. As such, my razor's not in immediate view, but I still want it to look nice. I'd bet plenty of men feel the same way, whether they're fine-tuning fuller facial hair or monitoring a sprouting mustache. If the razor looks (and feels) nice, they're less likely to keep it in the corner of the shower or in the wells of an unwashed sink.
"[It's] a sleeker razor that can be confidently displayed on a sink as a design object," Zaremba says.