100 Years of the Bauhaus

Our Chairman, Paul Maddocks, reflects on a century of the Bauhaus.

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“As the centenary of the founding of Bauhaus comes to an end, it may be worth looking at what influences it had on all aspects of design today from architecture to furniture.

“When I was at art school in 1969 we had a slide show and we were all given a presentation from a visiting lecturer. He was one of the students that was taught at the Bauhaus School, sadly I do not remember his name. It was to celebrate Bauhaus 50th birthday, I had not heard of this school before or what they did, but I did recognised some of the designs that had come out of its creative process.

“Bauhaus was a school for modernism. It ran from 1919 to 1933. Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, in 1919, as a new kind of art school based around a holistic approach to the creative disciplines. The German term Bauhaus—literally “building house”—was understood as meaning “School of Building”, but in spite of its name and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not initially have an architecture department.

“The objective was the creation of a ‘total work of art’ in which buildings and everything in them were designed as a whole entity. The Bauhaus promoted a unified vision for the arts that made no distinction between form and function, and therefore Gropius wanted the school’s architecture to reflect these values. Bauhaus style, also known as the International Style, it was marked by the absence of ornamentation and by harmony between the function of an object or a building and its design.

“In 1925 to 1932 Bauhaus moved to Dessau and Walter Gropius designed the school to reflect the Bauhaus values.

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“The Bauhaus Dessau’s most striking features are its glass curtain walls, which wrap around corners and provide views of the building’s interiors, and its supporting structure.

“It is worth looking up Bauhaus and its interesting history, its influences it has had on today’s design in furniture and buildings.”

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A photograph of the Wassily Chair, it is one of the most famous pieces of furniture connected to the Bauhaus. Designed by Marcel Breuer, the iconic tubular steel chair was inspired by bicycle frames and made with the latest in steel-bending technology at the time. It is named after Bauhaus master Wassily Kandinsky, and close friend of Klee, who praised the piece.

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A photograph of the famous cradle which is a combination of geometric shapes and primary colours by Peter Keller. A student at the Bauhaus between 1921 and 1925, Peter Keller was a versatile designer, artist and architect. While at the school in 1923 he designed a baby cradle for the first Bauhaus exhibition in the Haus am Horn in Weimar.  Peter was influenced by artist Wassily Kandinsky, who was a master at the school.

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