The phenomenally influential Bauhaus design school celebrates its centenary this year so I have relished the prompt to revisit my own art and design history studies from high school and university. For those of you who have never heard of the Bauhaus before, it was an early twentieth century movement intent on unifying art, craft and design in all its forms to create a holistic approach to teaching and practice, and put creative soul at the heart of functional design. The influence of its leaders has been acknowledged across all design disciplines from teapots to graphics and buildings, all over the world. I’ve picked out my five favourite Bauhaus classics, some of which still look contemporary today and which you may well recognise.
If you have ever scrolled Pinterest for interior design inspiration, chances are you will have seen this classic chair numerous times already. A favourite among architects, you will often see them use this chair to humanise their designs. It is sleek, beautifully proportioned and inviting. Typically, Lilly Reich has only been recognised posthumously for her collaborative contributions to the enormous success of Mies Van Der Rohe’s oevre.
Exploring form and function was one of the basic tenets of the Bauhaus and these costume designs by Oskar Schlemmer for his Triadic Ballet are no exception. Inspired by geometry and the idea of the human body as a machine or mechanism the costumes are based on abstracted human forms. Schlemmer also directed how the performers moved whilst wearing these creations which resemble marionettes. Constructed from custom farthingales, the clothes were incredibly sculptural with some of the inherent shapes and lines recognisable as part of the signature Bauhaus style across many different disciplines.
Bauhaus product design often featured strong shapes like this beautiful cocktail shaker. What’s not to love about these pleasing curves and spheres? The handle is essential for the functionality of this boozy teapot and the form of it follows the main body of the vessel so perfectly and in exactly the right proportion. It’s a masterpiece and using it would be a joy every time.
The hugely famous abstract artist Wassilly Kandinsky taught in the Bauhaus art and architecture school and is thought to be have been a synesthete, someone whose senses are not entirely separate, seeing colours upon hearing music or tasting shapes. Much his beautiful, detailed work related to music and the signature Bauhaus line is evident in this painting of his.
There were many women graduates of the Bauhaus school including Gunta Stolzl who became its only female master. Her weaving work was incredibly intricate and her planning drawings are fascinating. Have a browse of them and many other examples of Bauhuas style over on my pinterest page, and if you fancy a cultural trip to Germany this year there are plenty of Bauhaus events to keep you engaged! Just head to the Bauhaus 100 website to find out more.
Which Bauhaus pieces do YOU like the best?! Comment below x