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2019 is the year of the Bauhaus – the worldwide most influential
school of art, design and ideas celebrates its centenary. We celebrate
this avant-garde movement by starting a special design dedicated Bauhaus
expert series that guides you through the year: Where to find the best
Bauhaus Design Events? What links Bauhaus Icons to iF? As a highlight,
we will take you on a journey deep into our iF archives to find traces
and names of the Bauhaus.
"I assure you that you and your work are the model case for what the
Bauhaus has been after." Bauhaus founder Gropius wrote these words in a
letter to Prof. Wilhelm Wagenfeld in 1965. And sure he was right, as
Wagenfeld is considered a pioneer of industrial design of the 20th
century until today. His designs marked a consistent development of a
modern and democratic culture of products and design. With his
creations, Wagenfeld aimed to link the design of our everdy culture with
social responsibility. He wanted to reach broad levels of the population with
And he did reach people with design: He is the creator of one of the most iconic Bauhaus designs and one of the most famous industrial lamp designs not just in German design history: The Wagenfeld table lamp by Tecnolumen WA24.
“Good household products should always be cheap enough for the worker and good enough for the rich!” Wilhelm Wagenfeld
No wonder, Wagenfeld played a crucial role in the founding of iF 66 years ago, which was then named "Die gute Industrieform e.V." (Good Industrial Form). He supported iF at the time to develop further and wrote an inspiring opening address for the foundation of iF Industrie Forum Design e.V. Many designers use his key phrase that good household products should always be "cheap enough for the worker and good enough for the rich" as a credo in their work until today. Download the opening words of Prof. Wagenfeld about the "Thoughts and Experiences of a Designer" below:
The famous table lamp was designed by Wagenfeld in 1920 for an assignment by László Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus metal workshop, but it was not until 1980 that Tecnolumen's founder Walter Schnepel started producing Wagenfeld's design. Schnepel visited Wagenfeld 1976 in his studio and saw the prototype of the lamp. He wondered why nobody produced the lamp, so Wagenfeld told him: “Then you should do it!” And he did and founded the company based on the classic WA24.
The lamp has an elegant, functional, straightforward, timeless design with a reduction on basic elements. The lamp is a design icon until today and its shape became a symbol for the Bauhaus. Today, the company is one of the most known manufacturers of originals from the Bauhaus.
Household goods and lamps are among the 80 awarded designs by Prof. Wagenfeld at iF. His lighting designs for German manufacturer Peill & Putzler, Glashüttenwerke, are outstanding and have his typical handwriting. However, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, household goods manufacturer WMF and iF connects a much more special bond! Since the beginnings of iF, WMF has been honored with over 470 awards! Around a fifth of them for designs by Wagenfeld himself.
The Max and Moritz salt and pepper shakers, the butter dish and the stackable egg cups have made design history and are a classic until today! Prof. Wilhelm Wagenfeld developed them for WMF back in the 1950s, and they are still part of the range today. He was also the person who recognized and promoted the excellent material properties of Cromargan® for industrial series production. His philosophy of the usability of objects and the benefit for the user still determines the WMF product development process today.