Naturally during the project I considered Bauhaus design theory. Throughout my Architecture degree I was acutely aware of the Bauhaus influence within art, architecture and design and for a project concentrating on geometry it seemed relevant to consider its importance today.

Moholy-Nagy, L., 1929. Bauhaus Leaflet. [electronic print] Available at: <http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1242/1233921454_62709b36db_o.png> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

The Bauhaus, founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius would revolutionise art, architecture and design.1 The name Bauhaus is derived from German, Bauen meaning (creative) building and Haus meaning house. Literally translated as “building-house” the Bauhaus aimed to adjust our interpretation and access of the arts.2

In 1925 the Bauhaus was moved to the purpose built school at Dessau, designed by Gropius himself.

Anon, n.d. Bauhaus Dessau 1925. [electronic print] Available at: <http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_LJHBrB752xY/TU64–N4T0I/AAAAAAAAAus/eOsQ35eASJQ/s1600/Gropius%2B-%2BBauhaus%2BDessau%2B2.jpg> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

The Bauhaus flourished, students were privileged, learning from household names of Wassily Kandinsky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers among others.

The Bauhaus was a beacon of hope following the devestation and destruction of the first World War. The school sought to oppose the old style Art Academy and remove the bourgeois nature clinging to the arts following the Arts and Craft movement.

Manifesto for the opening of the Bauhaus, designer Lyonel Feininger

Anon, n.d. Bauhaus Manifesto. [electronic print] Available at:<http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lok7bf4nDJ1qcjrxyo1_1280.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6IHWSU3BX3X7X3Q&Expires=1325937784&Signature=6YQjRsHARTq70Vw4CXopJ7%2FJSHo%3D> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Bauhaus was intended to integrate the artist and the industry.

Art and technology – the new unity

This welcoming of the machine age and amalgamation of art and technology developed the beginnings of the modernist movement, from the New Typography to modernist Architecture.

Principle teaching at the Bauhaus

Anon, n.d. Bauhaus Principle Teachings. [electronic print] Available at: <http://www.gardenvisit.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/image001.jpg> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Sadly however, the Bauhaus reign came to an end, following final closure in Dessau by the Nazis 1933 the era was over.

Miron, D., n.d. Bauhaus Dessau. [electronic print] Available at: <http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4144/4844930462_19bb7b442a_b.jpg> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

However, the monumental Bauhaus influence continues to flourish.

No era has shaped the course of human civilization as profoundly as the 20th century, and in many ways the Bauhaus movement represents a hinge of modern history.3

– Eric Herboth

In agreement with Herboth in an article for New York: Home Design, Alexandra Lange claims the Bauhaus is still a prevailing influence throughout the design world today. Furthermore she emphasises its incredible strength, despite it functioning as a school for only fourteen years and today being almost a century old.4

The Bauhaus embraced, engaged, developed and distributed Modernism, successfully in the interim between two World Wars. The techniques taken for granted today within art, architecture and design originated from within the Bauhaus, however many do not make the connection, failing to acknowledge the influence from the masters of the Bauhaus today. Theories are used and imitated by many who may be unaware they are utilising Bauhaus ideals.

For example, many consider Ikea a place to buy ‘modern’ furniture. However do many purchasing the ever popular chair see the obvious development from Mies van der Rohe’s original Barcelona chair?

Anon, 1929. Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chair. [electronic print] Available at: <http://www.pamkelley.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/mies-van-der-rohe.jpg?w=300> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

MoMA, 2001. Exhibition House 1931. [extracted electronic print] Available at: <http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2001/mies/> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Anon, n.d. Ikea Catalogue – Poäng Chair. [electronic print] Available at: <http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/images/products/poang-armchair__46190_PE142932_S4.jpg> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

The Bauhau poster for the exhibition in Weimar, 1923, by Joost Schmidt is often replicated and the basic form duplicated today.

Schmidt, J., 1923. Bauhaus Poster. [electronic print] Available at: <http://interdisciplinaryleeds.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/10-bauhaus-plakat-1923.jpg> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Obviously replications are likely to occur when discussing the Bauhaus itself and exhibitions regarding its work, however many more Bauhaus influenced posters are in existence, showing the lessons from the Bauhaus have truly lived on.

Anon, 2008. Barack Obama 2008. [electronic print] Available at: <http://www.gardenvisit.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/image001.jpg> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Anon, n.d. Android Background. [electronic print] Available at: <http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GsJ0PZjfZPw/SPjFXaeK0XI/AAAAAAAAA8M/Rmq7xvJtNIE/s400/AndroidBackground1.jpg> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Jones, M. D., 2006. AG Ideas Poster. [electronic print] Available at: <http://matthewdjones.deviantart.com/art/AG-Ideas-Poster-Bauhaus-esq-55633881> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Anon, 2005. Chase the Balloons : Cycling benefit poster. [electronic print] Available at: <http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3262/3168007296_fc933def4e_o.jpg> [Acccessed 2nd January 2012].

It would be impossible to remove the influence of the Bauhaus from our work, but this should not be regarded negatively. The Bauhaus was a great era of experimental and growth for modernism from which designers today can still learn a great deal.

Further Reading

Sack, F. and Quay, D., 1993. From Bauhaus to Font House. Eye Magazine [online] Available at: <http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature.php?id=44&fid=353&gt; [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

Goldmann, A. J., 2009. Celebrating the Bauhaus at 90. [online] Available at: <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204619004574318681640232164.html&gt; [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

MacCarthy, F., 2007. House Style. The Guardian [online] 17th November 2007. Available at: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/nov/17/architecture.art&gt; [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

References

1. Anon, 2012. Bauhaus. The Tate Glossary [online] Available at: <http://www.tate.org.uk/collections/glossary/definition.jsp?entryId=40&gt; [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

2. MacCarthy, F., 2007. House Style. The Guardian [online] 17th November 2007. Available at: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/nov/17/architecture.art&gt; [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

3. Herboth, E. J., 2009. The Bauhaus at MoMA. The Design Observer Group [online] Available at: <http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=11807> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

4. Lange, A., 2009. We All Live in a Bauhaus. New York: Home Design [online] Available at: <http://nymag.com/homedesign/features/61726/> [Accessed 2nd January 2012].

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