What's all the fuss about Bauhaus?
When I tell people that Spiero is dedicated to German design they can look a bit bewildered.
We all know about the cool minimalism of Swedish design and the chic cosiness of Danish Hygge, but German?
Of course, what is often forgotten is the Bauhaus.
The Bauhaus was an art school which ran in Germany between 1919-1933. It gathered together a host of talented individuals including Walter Gropius,Wassily Kandinsky and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In its short and eventful life (full of forced closures, multiple sackings and lots of great parties) it created a legacy that forms the basis of what we call modern design. The school can even be credited with creating the very profession of "designer".
Pre-Bauhaus there was no such thing as a designer. There were fine artists, there were craftspeople and there were also architects and engineers. The idea that you could bring these disparate disciplines together and create a role of "designer" was revolutionary.
The Bauhaus advocated the use of geometry, colour, and proportion and the removal of superfluous decoration which could distract from the form and function of the whole. Ease of manufacture was also an important consideration.
This need for improved design came about partly as a response to the low quality mass produced goods of the industrialised early 20th century. Walter Gropius wanted to train people to produce “useful, durable, economical and beautiful everyday objects”.
According to Gorden Wagener, chief designer at Daimler, the simplicity and perfect craftsmanship of Bauhaus design can provide a respite from "information overload". Bauhaus design is about transmitting just the right amount of information rather than "as much information as possible".
The Bauhaus was set up to confront the future, to innovate and to find ways to make life better. That's why, 100 years later, the principles of Bauhaus design are still going strong.