The A-Z of Interior Design - B

Bauhaus - still relevant today and a major inspiration.  Here's a brief introduction and some images to explain why.

The Bauhaus period lasted a relatively brief fourteen years but has made a major mark in the history of 20th century art, architecture and design - evident in today’s open plan living spaces, kitchens, furniture, lamps and art. The Bauhaus style has clearly influenced contemporary architecture and interiors with clean lines, white walls or blocks of colour and the use of glass and concrete.

The Bauhaus (translation: house of building) was founded by architect, Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany in 1919 whose vision was to combine art, design and industry. At the Bauhaus School of Design, in Dessau, fine art students learnt to combine their artistic skills with new technology to design and manufacture products that were beautiful and practical. The Bauhaus building is open to visitors from 9-6 pm daily. 

Gropius was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement which had also united artists, craftspersons and industry. At that time new machines and technology created the ability to mass produce home products and the Bauhaus extended this innovative idea to architecture so architects and designers could move forward and create buildings of the future.

Gropius - the architect - felt that a building should be central to teaching the arts. He designed a new, contemporary asymmetrical college structure containing workshops, offices, living spaces and classrooms with simple, clean lines and an open feel using glass walls housed between white, concrete rendered strips.

Many renowned artists taught at the Bauhaus including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Johannes Itten, Lyonel Feininger and Josef Albers - who was a past pupil along with his wife, Anni.

During the years 1924-28 the artist and architect, Theo van Doesburg taught at the Bauhaus and his lessons promoted flat primary colours and straight lines (rectangular, horizontal, vertical and horizontal, but never diagonal) from the Dutch De Stijl movement. 
Eventually the school’s ethos and teaching became more diverse and with different teachers the design of textiles, wallpapers, furniture and lighting were introduced. 

The Bauhaus days

A a few minutes walk from the Bauhaus building, in a small pine-tree wood, Walter Gropius also built the “Masters’ Houses”, where the Bauhaus teachers lived and worked. In 1925, the city of Dessau also commissioned Walter Gropius with the construction of three semi-detached houses for the Bauhaus masters and a detached house for its director. 

In 1926, Gropius and the Bauhaus masters László Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, Georg Muche, Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee moved in with their families. The houses were equipped with modern furniture and fitted cupboards integrated between kitchen and dining room, bedroom and studio. Gropius fitted his house exclusively with furniture by Marcel Breuer. The artists developed their own interior decor ideas and this is evident in Klee and Kandinsky’s colourful interior design which reflects their own artistic style.

Interleaved cubic forms of different heights, vertical rows of windows provide lighting for the stairways, large glass windows let in ample light, generous terraces and balconies, houses painted in light tones but window frames, undersides of balconies and downpipes in stronger colours

The Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer (1925) is one of the most iconic furniture pieces to emerge from the Bauhaus and demonstrates the link between art, design and machine production.

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