Hans Gugelot (1920 – 1965) Dutch-Swiss Product Designer

Carousel-S Slide Projector 1963 by Hans Gugelot, Reinhold Häcker
Carousel-S Slide Projector 1963 by Hans Gugelot, Reinhold Häcker

Hans Gugelot was a key figure in the German postwar reconstruction. He was born in Indonesia, he studied in Zurich at the Federal Technical College. He was a versatile designer whose products and furniture have influenced a generation of designers. He was known for a functional ‘building-block’ approach to design and for avoiding decorative detail, whether in furniture, such as the Ml25 storage unit for Bofinger (1956), or the electrical products he designed for Braun. The Carousel S projector and round slide magazine Gugelot designed for Kodak in 1962 was considered a classic of design.

Biography

Hans Gugelot was born in 1920 and died in 1965. From 1940 to 1942, he worked in engineering, and from 1940 to 1946, he worked as an architect in Switzerland. He was closely connected to the radical Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) in Ulm, Germany, and the clean, systematic, and useful designs of Braun products in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

30th April 1958: On display at the Hanover Fair, a TV set produced by Hans Gugelot and Helmut Mueller, Telefunken. On wheels, it is fully automatic and supplied in colours to tone with interior decorations. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

In Zurich, he worked in the office of Max Bill, who had graduated from the Bauhaus. In 1954, he followed Bill to the HfG to run the product design programme. He believed in the Ulm design theory, which favoured a collaborative, multidisciplinary, and empirical approach to design over the traditional idea of the intuitive, creative individual designer.

Radio-Phonograph (model SK 4/10) 1956 by Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot
Radio-Phonograph (model SK 4/10) 1956 by Dieter Rams, Hans Gugelot

Consultant to Braun

Gugelot was asked to work as a consultant for Braun. He and two other Ulm professors, Otl Aicher and Fritz Eicher, first worked on the design of radios. He also worked with Dieter Rams of Braun on the sleek design of the SK4 radiogram cabinet in 1956. In the years that followed, he worked with Gerd Alfred Müller on a number of other products, such as the Sixtant razor (1962). He also helped his students work on real-world projects, such as making models for the Hamburg UBahn subway system (1959–1962). His other clients included Bofinger, for whom he made the modular M125 office system in 1957, and Kodak, for which he made the Carousel slide projector (1962).

Sources

Dormer, P. (1991). The Illustrated Dictionary of Twentieth Century Designers.

Woodham, J. M. (2006). A dictionary of modern design. Oxford University Press.

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