Industrial designer Odo Klose

Today, 18.11.2017 the German industrial designer and professor Odo Klose will be 85 years old. We at Red Dot 21 offer him our hearty congratulations!

Whoever knows Odo Klose will categorise him immediately as one of the great designers in the field of interior architecture. And whoever has never heard of him certainly will still remember him from the light switches of the 70s and 80s. Odo Klose developed the switches of the renowned enterprise Gira, which today bears the coveted title of “Design Classics”. The newly developed sensor switches had a particularly flat design with an elegant formal language which also enjoyed international acclaim,. To this day, the S series of the switches are being further developed and count among the standard component of the Gira portfolio.


Career of Odo Klose

Professor Odo Klose studied mechanical engineering and technical morphology at the technical university in Munich and worked thereafter as designer for Siemens. He taught industrial design at the Bergisch University in Wuppertal and at the DAYEH University in Taiwan. The focus of his work as designer lay in the design of devices for seat, automotive, medical, tool and installation technologies. His research was directed towards the ergonomic design of tools and user interfaces, the aesthetic optimisation of devices as well as technical morphology.


Cooperation with Gira: design and technology

In 1970, Professor Odo Klose’s exclusive cooperation with Gira begins, a company in the electrical industry which was founded in 1905 and today, with over 1,100 employees in Germany and representation in 40 countries, counts among the leading medium-sized enterprises of this industry. Basis of the domestic electrical innovations is a proprietary company toggle switch patent and its further development to surface area switches which, in the case of Gira, are always of reduced design. Apart from switches and sockets, GIRA produces a wide spectrum of electro-installation systems, some of these for communication technology, door intercom systems and automation for heating, lighting and shutter control.

At the beginning, Professor Odo Klose develops extremely flat sensor switches, from which in the middle of the 70s, a completely new, very successful programme evolved, with the name of „S-Komfort“. In 1977 Gira introduced the S-Komfort programme in English language magazines with the advertising slogan „Switches have never been so beautiful“. At the beginning of the 80s, architects too became, next to the designers, ever more important, as switches and sockets matching the clear colours of the plastic handles from Hewi which were popular at that time. Odo Klose thereupon designs the switch „S-Color“, which were marketed in 1985 in the colours pure white, grey, black, blue and red. The „S-Color“ is design classic of Gira even today. The round form of socket and switch rocker is unmistakable. The sturdy material is coloured right through, the surface thus becoming particularly resistant to light and weather.


Autoform. The car in design, art and education

Odo Klose is is also known as author of several specialised books and a number of contributions in magazines, which are used today as guide publications for designers, design engineers, teachers and lay persons. In 1984, his book Autoform. Das Auto in Design, Kunst und Unterricht* (Autoform. The car in design, art and education) was issued in german language as the first edition of the publishers Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart. It showed the historic development of body designs with their characteristics and addresses the following issues: what are the requirements for the body shape of a car? To which influences is the styling of a car subject? What effect do the conditions and legal requirements have on the shape of the car? The development history of a car shape is reproduced step-by-step and the concept of individual design details as well as the work methods of the body designer of new car models is illustrated – beginning with the simple hand sketches. The car is, in addition, looked at from a cultural viewpoint and interesting examples for art education are demonstrated. Although the book was published in the mid-80s, it is considered even to this day as up-to-date.


*Professor Odo Klose used this phrase at the renowned design competition, the Red Dot Award in the field of product design in Essen, during that time when the product innovations submitted for the renowned design competition, the Red Dot Award were tested. He was one or the circle of invited experts which were selected as jury members for expert evaluation of the products in the competition.

Posted on 18.11.2017

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