There’s a great article at the International Herald Tribune about the icon of modernism that is The Bauhaus School. I won’t copy snippets because you can read it by yourself, but I’ll give you my brief. It influenced art, architecture, interior design, industrial design, graphic design and typography profoundly but it also shook other areas such as politics and women rights to the core. It was established in 1919 and designed by Walter Gropius in a conservative town of Weimar. What Gropius wanted and succeeded at was to create “the new building of the future to embrace architecture, sculpture and painting in one unity.” The school was moved from Weinmar to Dessau where it got its cult building. From the locals point of view the students were too bohemian. From the woman rights point of view it was sexist for limiting women students to weaving and ceramics workshops. From the Nazis point of view the Bauhaus was a ”hotbed of Bolshevism, despite Gropius’s ban on political activity”. What is more, one of the schools teacher, Johannes Itten, insisted on students to wear flowing robes and adopt vegetarianism.
Paul Klee - Ancient Sound, 1925 and Mies van der Rohe - Farnsowrth House, 1951
Despite its controversy the list of influential artist and architects that worked and studied at the school grew throughout the years to a point where they managed to lift its reputation to a global level. Amongst many others were Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Johannes Itten, Paul Klee and Avgust Černigoj (Slovenian). The impact of the school was immense and the effects of their designs had already taken place before its main players fled or were exiled by the Nazi party. Most of them settled in England and The States where the knowledge was passed on at Harvard School of Design producing more great names such as I.M. Pei and Phillip Johnson.
Laszlo Maholy-Nagy, Untiteled, 1921 and Johannes Itten, Farbkreis, 1921
As the schools reputation grew, so did the political (Nazi) pressure on the director. Ultimately Gropius resigned from the school and left Germany to live in the States. The Bauhaus school legacy is priceless both in products and in philosophy of building and designing. Influencing life the way it did, there really was no other school or ‘trend’ that would sweep the world of design off its feet in a similar way. Some examples of the schools work follow.