Fashion & Currents

  • Bauhaus Style

Bauhaus, located in Germany, is an art and architecture school founded by the renowned architect and design theorist Gropius. The name "Bauhaus" is composed of the German words "Bau" and "Haus" ("Bau" meaning "building" from the verb "bauen" which means "to build," and "Haus" meaning "house").

It was the first institution in the world established entirely for the development of design education, hailed as the "center of creativity in Europe," and served as a milestone in the development of modernism. Bauhaus laid the foundation for the basic structure of modern design education and the fundamental appearance of industrial design, earning it the title of the "cradle of modernist design."


  • Historical Overview and Development of Design Ideas

Bauhaus went through three periods in its history: the Weimar period from 1919 to 1925, the Dessau period from 1925 to 1932, and the Berlin period from 1932 to 1933.

It was led by three directors: Walter Gropius (serving from 1919 to 1928), Hans Meyer (serving from 1928 to 1930), and Mies van der Rohe (serving from 1931 to 1933). Each director's tenure represented a different developmental stage characterized by distinct personalities: Gropius's idealism, Meyer's communism, and Mies's pragmatism. Under the influence of these three directors, Bauhaus developed rich and complex content.

  • Weimar Period: 1919 to 1925

On April 1, 1919, Walter Gropius founded Bauhaus (full name: Des Statliches Bauhaus) in Weimar, Germany, with the aim of reforming art and design education.

In the initial stage, Gropius hired nine form masters to teach courses, including Johannes Itten, Lyonel Feininger, Gerhard Marcks, Georg Muche, Oskar Schlemmer, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy, Rosa Schapire, and Wassily Kandinsky.

The teaching adopted the "factory apprentice system." Students had to undergo six months of basic education, learning "basic modeling," "material research," and "factory principles and internships" before entering studios for a three-year apprenticeship. Only after completing basic education could students enter the workshops. This teaching system pioneered a modern design education model integrating teaching, research, and practice.

In 1923, Bauhaus held an exhibition titled "Art and Technology: A New Unity," which introduced Bauhaus to the world and established a new understanding of modern design, making Bauhaus the core of modern design.

  • Dessau Period: 1925 to 1932

After the closure of Bauhaus in Weimar, Gropius hoped to relocate the school to a city with suitable political, economic, and cultural conditions, and Dessau became his choice.

After 1925, Bauhaus gradually entered a period of early brilliance, with a unprecedented increase in student numbers. Gropius continued to implement the mature and perfect teaching system from the Weimar era, nurturing a large number of talents who later became pioneers of modernist design.

In 1928, Gropius resigned from Bauhaus, and Meyer succeeded him as director. Meyer was a radical, with extreme leftist, politicized, and anti-art positions. His political stance led to deteriorating relations with the faculty and the Dessau government, and some core faculty members resigned. Bringing politics into teaching, especially his conflicting political stance with the Dessau government, endangered Bauhaus's social status. In June 1930, under pressure from the government and public opinion, Meyer resigned as director.

During Meyer's tenure, Bauhaus suffered greatly and struggled to regain its former status.

After Meyer's resignation, Mies succeeded him. Mies eliminated the political elements of the school and worked to steer it back on track.

In addition to efforts to remove leftist political forces from the school, Mies also focused on reforming the teaching system. He shifted the core of teaching to architectural design, dividing the school into architecture and interior design departments, hoping to promote the development of design education through architectural design education.

  •  Berlin Period: 1932 to 1933

In 1931, the Nazis gained control of Dessau, and Bauhaus became their target. In 1932, Bauhaus ended its brief tenure in Dessau. Subsequently, Mies maintained Bauhaus as a private institution in Berlin. In January 1933, the Nazi government seized national power, and in April, the German Ministry of Culture ordered the closure of Bauhaus. On August 10, citing economic difficulties, Mies announced the permanent dissolution of Bauhaus.

Afterward, to escape persecution by the German Nazi Party, a large number of teachers and students fled to other countries. During the post-World War II period of large-scale construction, these individuals integrated Bauhaus design ideas more closely with industrial production, spreading Bauhaus philosophy worldwide.

  • Core Design Ideas of Bauhaus

1.Unity of Art and Technology

2.The purpose of design is function, not products.

3.Design must follow natural and objective principles.

  • Impact

Bauhaus existed on the surface for only 14 years from 1919 to 1933, but its influence as a thought and style continues to this day. Looking back at the valuable "legacy" left by Bauhaus, the most important are the following three points:

First, Bauhaus formed the main framework of modern design education, consisting of three components: graphics, three-dimensional, and color. It advocated the combination of teaching and practice, teaching, and production, established a scientific design education method and system, and laid the foundation for modern design education.

Second, it emphasized the social responsibility of design, with the motive and purpose of design being to serve the public.

Third, it clarified the definition of design, emphasized the scientific nature of design, distinguished it from art, and established a design system centered on concepts and problem-solving.

  • Impact on Interior Design

Bauhaus also advocated simplifying elements and geometric shapes in interior design, as well as using revolutionary materials such as tubular steel, glass, plywood, and plastic, emphasizing the unity of functionality and aesthetics.

However, unlike the black-and-white impression of interior decoration that people have in mind, Bauhaus-style interior design uses color to construct space, creating specific areas within a space through color. Walls, floors, and ceilings are typically treated with simple color units for distinction.

This design style has had a profound influence on later designs, including the interior design of the Nordic style, which is also influenced by Bauhaus.

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