22 design history – celebrating 100 years Bauhaus
– a modern centenarian
This year celebrates 100 years since the legendary Bauhaus Design
school opened in Germany in 1919. In-between World War I and World
War II, the Bauhaus changed the expression for modern design. The
school was considered radical for its time and faced strong resistance.
It moved three times, had three influential directors and a different
focus under each leadership until it was forced to close in 1933.
THE SCHOOL WAS OPENED in Weimer by
Walter Gropius. His innovative approach
strove to combine craftsmanship, art and
industry. Art and craftsmanship were
once again considered inseparable, and all
students underwent extensive craftsmanship
training. A central idea at the school
was to encourage the students to think freely
and experiment in their design.
When the school moved to Dessau in 1925,
its focus shifted to industrial production.
A classic from this period is the Wassily
chair from 1925 designed by Marcel Breuer.
The design of the chair intended to be more
logical and mechanical than artistic in its
expression. During this period and onward,
architecture was given a more prominent
role in the curriculum. This was enhanced
in 1928 when Hannes Myers took over the
directorship of the school. Myers argued that
design and architecture should be socially
aware. Such left radical ideas were considered
too provocative in Nazi Germany.
In 1930, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe took
over as director. He abandoned the idea of
social responsibility and strove to find the
perfect form and elegance in architecture.
Artist: Breuer, Marcel (1902–981)
Title: ’Wassily’ Club Chair (Dessau, Germany)
Photo: Leo Bülow