The Bauhaus Designers and Their Designs
Boy, if there was ever some magic door I could walk through to go back in time, one place I would surely choose to go to is the revolutionary era of the Bauhaus so that I could meet all the Bauhaus designers and see their designs right up close and personal. I bet the room (or in the case of the below photo) the rooftop was just spilling over with passion and creativity.
The Bauhaus as a school was only around for fourteen years but in that time they changed our ideas on art, furniture materials, interior design, architecture, color, and pattern. In addition, their ideology was a model of integration and equality.
Though individually the founders and students of the Bauhaus school were massively creative they took a socialistic view to the actual production of their arts and churned out design after design in a factory like manner.
The Bauhaus Designers
The Bauhaus masters on the roof of the Bauhaus building in Dessau. From the left: Josef Albers, Hinnerk Scheper, Georg Muche, László Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Vassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stölzl and Oskar Schlemmer.
Johannes Itten's Color Wheel
Johannes Itten (1888-1967) was one of the most influential tutors at the Bauhaus whose color theory is still taught today - I'll bet you seen the above color wheel before. He instigated an introductory course for new students that taught the basics in material characteristics, composition and color that became the precursor to foundation courses found at all art schools all over the world. He had an almost mystical charisma that made the students practically worship him but alienated him from the other tutors. In addition, his belief that true creativity comes from within clashed with the socialistic and mass production Bauhaus ideals and in 1923 he resigned.
Some of the Bauhaus Designers
Walter Gropius established the Bauhaus & made so many contributions to architecture and interior design (such as his iconic door handle, right) and yet remains one of the lesser recognized members.
Wassily Kandinsky started painting when he was 30. Above is a picture painted during his Bauhaus phase. Bold use of color, geometric forms and rich gradations define this period.
Oskar Schlemmer a painter whose most celebrated work is “Die Bauhaus Treppe.” His complex ideas on form made him one of the most important tutors as the Bauhaus.
Marianne Brandt studied under Moholy-Nagy in the metal workshop of the Bauhaus until she succeeded him in 1928 eventually negotiating the most important contracts for the school.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe developed the concept of commingling indoors and out in the above Barcelona Pavilion which in many ways revolutionized modern architecture and was a precursor to his modular steel and glass skyscrapers.
Marcel Breuer sitting in his famous Wassily Chair who bent tubular steel frame changed our ideas of how a chair should be made. He successfully did the same thing for bent plywood furniture.
Elements of Style
The below chair, design by Marcel Breuer, encompasses many Bauhaus elements of style such as
- Tubular Steel: which was extremely strong, light weight, inexpensive and flexible. Attributes that made it a popular choice for people who had lost their homes during WWII.
- Plain Surfaces & Black: In an effort to streamline production, all embellishments were abandoned in favor of smooth surfaces. Black leather was also often used because it deflected attention away from the surface of the furniture and back to its structure.
More Elements of Bauhaus Style
- Plate Glass & Chrome Glass: which was a popular choice because of its associations with architecture and industry plus it offered clean and simple straight lines. Though chrome plating went against the ideal of not embellishing, often it was irresistible - it was especially loved in the US.
- Cantilevering: which did away with the notion of a chair with four legs and was one of the most popular expression of the Modernist style of reduction.
- Cane: which was a pre-Modernist material was much admired by the Bauhaus for its light weight and economy of price.
- Plywood: Through its inherent flexibility it was possible to construct furniture out of plywood without the use of joints making it a favorite medium of the Bauhaus.
The baby cradle designed by Peter Keller in 1922 incorporates several of the favorite mediums of the Bauhaus; tubular steel, geometric forms and cane. The bright colors were unusual. Normally black was the preferred color as it deflected attention from the surface and put back on the structure.
Article by Anne Alexander Sieder all rights reserved. For hard core interior design fans, check out my blog www.prettyhaus.com
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