Design (2018 | Issue 3)

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Timeless Modernism:
Bauhaus Beauties

Germany has a long and illustrious history of craftsmanship and design. It is known for its reliable, minimal, sturdy and functional design, be it for cars, buildings, interiors or household appliances. It’s all about reducing the bling. Back in 1907, the state-sponsored Deutscher Werkbund was formed. It was the first German design association to bring artists, architects, designers and manufacturers together. The idea was to integrate traditional crafts and industrial mass-production techniques. And then came the Bauhaus in 1919, which revolutionised the face of design forever!

Modern design owes a lot to the Bauhaus. The masters and students of this German school of design married the aesthetic element with practical functionality. For them, design was meant to solve a problem and the resulting products were to be produced en masse. Thanks to the Bauhaus, we have modern items like tubular chairs, modular kitchens, stackable teapots, practical lamps, sleek desks and so much more in our homes and offices. What’s Up, Germany? presents a pictorial portrayal of Bauhaus classics. Enjoy these iconic creations that have shaped today’s design world!

1. Michael Thonet’s Vienna Coffee House Chair (1859)

With this piece of bentwood furniture, also known as chair No14, Thonet’s name was immortalised in modern design history. Made with six pieces of wood, ten screws and two nuts, this functional and durable example of German industrial design became the first piece of furniture to be produced over a million times. By 1930, some 50 million No14s had been sold! This chair is still being made today!

2. Peter Behrens’ AEG Logo (1907)

When the electricity company AEG employed Peter Behrens as its artistic advisor in 1907, it definitely got the right man for the job! Considered to be the first industrial designer, Behrens developed AEG’s complete corporate identity, including its logo, publicity materials and electrical appliances—and its factory building. Now that’s “Perfekt in Form und Funktion”!

3. Walter Gropius’ Bauhaus Door Handle (1923)

This door handle designed by Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus school, is a classic. Its geometric shape and industrial elements like exposed screws are true to the Bauhaus principles. Certain aspects of this door handle can be found in Apple’s iPhone 4S! Actually, quite a few Apple products have been based on the clean and functional approach of the Bauhaus, from the early Mac OS logo to the more recent iPads. As Steve Jobs said, “… the product design, the advertising, it all comes down to this: Let’s make it simple.”

4. Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s Bauhaus Lamp (1924)

The W24 table lamp, popularly known as the Bauhaus lamp, was designed by Wagenfeld as an assignment given by the Bauhaus teacher László Moholy-Nagy. Made of an opaline glass globe and a nickel-plated steel pipe, this lamp is a design icon. It is still in production today, which goes to show how eternal great design is!