The focus of the maisonette’s open-plan living area is a group of 60s chairs in bright primary colours which overlook a terrace filled with greenery; meanwhile, wall-to-wall Vitsœ shelving is stacked with novels, design tomes and rare examples of Dieter Rams’ early designs for Braun. Drinking coffee poured from a steaming stove-top affair (Braun, of course) around Kapos’ Vitsœ desk, which serves as a dining table, I catch my reflection in a mirrored stainless-steel toaster on the wall opposite. It is, I realise, precisely the model famously depicted by artist Richard Hamilton in his work ‘Toaster’, 1967. An ardent admirer of Rams’, Hamilton turned both the object and its accompanying ad-copy into a print, today in Tate’s collection. The only change to the object was to substitute the red Braun logo for the artist’s own name.
Kapos reflects on a tension within the Braun Design studio during the 50s and 60s, when the objective was to create ‘rational’ objects – toasters, food mixers and coffee machines – which were, at the same time as fulfilling a utilitarian function, highly desirable. “So you get this odd combination of a kind of fetishism around particular objects, the desirability of objects, which is not rational – and then at the same time, a desire to rationalise.”