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2019 was the year of the Bauhaus – the worldwide most influential
school of art, design and ideas celebrated its centenary. In Germany, even two new Bauhaus museums opened with unique collections, there were hundreds of events, even outside of the Bauhaus birthplace Germany or, to be precise, Dessau and Weimar. However, what links Bauhaus to iF design? Are there any Bauhaus icons in our winners collection? As our highlight,
we will take you on a journey deep into our iF design archives to find traces
and names of the Bauhaus - from its founder Walter Gropius to the influence on contemporary designers.
Max Bill certainly knew what time it was. It was his time – as well as that of Walter Gropius and Wilhelm Wagenfeld or Eileen Gray. Together with him they shaped the avant-garde movement of the Bauhaus, which celebrates its centenary this year. Time for us too – to take a look into our iF archives again. Swiss architect, artist, painter, typeface designer, industrial designer and graphic designer Max Bill and watch manufacturer Junghans are part of the design excellence with diverse watches which remained classics until today.
"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 industrial design.
Architect and Avant-garde master of modernism, Walter Gropius inspired and sculpted the whole idea, aesthetics and people of the Bauhaus. He attracted other architects, artists and designers for his new school in Weimar (1919), later in Dessau, which ideology and key elements outlast time and still influence our aesthetic perception every day. We digged deep into our iF archives and found him - with a special teapot, on the market until today!
The impact of the School of Bauhaus are not just remarkable in Dessau, Weimar or Berlin - its impact resonnates through generations of designers, intellectuals and architects. But how do young designers actually feel the influence of the school of Bauhaus on the everday work? How did it impact their designs and even way of thinking? We asked iF juror and famous product designer Ana Relvão from RELVÃO KELLERMANN in Munich. Ana’s
works have repeatedly been presented and honored at international
events.Here is her say on the influence of the Bauhaus:
"In high school I had a great art history teacher and I remember very well when he introduced the Bauhaus topic to us. It all started with the period of Gropius and the very rationalist approach, that denies any kind of decoration and identified the social need of finding "types" for daily objects. All this happened under the new paradigm that they were now built by industrial machines.
For the first time I understood that design can be used as a tool to develop honest products that speak the language of the tools they were made with. They have to serve social needs instead of focusing only on capitalistic motivations. The products we desig in our office follow very much some of the main Bauhaus principles, but of course adapted to contemporary needs. The Bauhaus isn't only a very inspirational school from the 20's century, it is also a way of thinking.
In Germany, and also in some other parts of the worlds, design museums, design institutions, design schools and even studios celebrated the Bauhaus centenary with exciting events. Ranging from Bauhaus exhibitions, Bauhaus conferences to Bauhaus theater plays and even ballet shows. We picked some special events for all lovers of Bauhaus design, architecture and Bauhaus thinking in our Bauhaus 100 event calendar!
In this year of celebrations for the Bauhaus centenary, Weimar has stolen a march on the other two hosts of that legendary institution, Dessau and Berlin. Earlier this year it inaugurated the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, designed by Heike Hanada, who won a competition in 2012, as part of a programme which places the Bauhaus’ emergence in the context of time and place. Appropriately so: this small central German city is where it all kicked off in 1919. The new museum, an apparently blank, cuboid concrete box set on the edge of the city centre and an urban park, contains some complex spaces, fabulous objects, and fascinating narrative displays. At night its striated walls streak with light, hinting at the fireworks within, but also marking its presence in the city.