Bauhaus is Not Dead, Lives in Our Hearts And Homes

Bauhaus is Not Dead, Lives in Our Hearts And Homes

The influential Bauhaus style has affected our entire perception of interior design over 100 years! But how? Actually Bauhaus was an art and design school founded by architecture Walter Gropius in 1919 with a modernist viewpoint for the aim of creating the future of design that concerns functionality, accessibility and aesthetics in one pot. Even if it is founded as a school, it left so huge mark on the 20th century’s design that it is known as a design and architecture movement independently.

Its huge impact exceeds the limits of time and had an influential effect on such as rearing minimalism or from Scandinavian design style to the industrial decoration most of the design styles carry on the main principles of Bauhaus school still. But what Bauhaus did differently, how it affects today’s styles and production process of furniture? How was the impact on today’s design styles’ development? Let’s explore the transformation of design with Bauhaus way of thinking!

How Bauhaus Affected The Development of Today’s Styles?

Products by Republic of Fritz Hansen
Products by Republic of Fritz Hansen

Their way of teaching and approach to design was fresh new and unexpected for that time period. The principles in the schools were quite new but actually these principles formed a base for the modern furnishing, therefore, Bauhaus was quite foresighted that today’s design and furniture found in every home or office has the features of the school. From this point of view, it could be said that today’s people’s perception of furniture was firstly shaped by Bauhaus even if over 100 years have passed from the emergence of the movement!

Wassily Chairs by Marcel Breuer
Wassily Chairs by Marcel Breuer

The Warm Embrace of Industrialization

It is highly indicated that the roots of Bauhaus can be traced to the Arts and Craft movement or Constructionism. However, Arts and Craft movement was a reaction to industrialization of furniture so the most main difference between other movements that Bauhaus embraced the process of industrialization and aimed that everybody could reach and use functional furniture regardless of any social class. It was not a surprise because Bauhaus was founded in Germany while the country was in the very beginning process of industrialization. In the end, this embrace led a totally new perspective to the production of furniture and the reminiscent pieces of Bauhaus still live in our homes. Apart from this, Bauhaus supported using different kinds of materials in interior design so it was easier to transition of seeing textural varieties in today’s furnishing design.  

Moreover, Bauhaus “cleaned” the world of design and became one of the most important movements as well as melting art, life and common people in one pot. Their understanding also united art branches from textile to furnishing, graphic design to architecture, while Bauhaus embraced all departments by leading interdisciplinary interior design of the our day!

Bauhaus style fabric designs by Gunta Stölzl
Bauhaus style fabric designs by Gunta Stölzl

Art and Artisanship Hand in Hand

The other principle that Bauhaus stick on strictly, especially for the first years of its foundation was the attempt of combining art and artisanship. So in Bauhaus, there were not only theoretical classes but also practical atelier classes such as pottery, murals, metalwork, weaving, painting or carpentry. With that point of view, the main aim of Gropius was that art and artisanship would be in coherence with industry and the market. It was the destruction of the conceit between the artist and the artisan and that led to the destruction of the class barriers between comfortable and functional furniture and every class people. Thus, it cleared the way of designs of Bauhaus was produced and reproduced by different corporations and brands for every class that made it possible to reach classy and useful designs.

Brno Chair by Mies van der Rohe 1
Brno Chair by Mies van der Rohe

“Form Follows Function”

This quote was the motto of Bauhaus. Then what changed the idea that function is important before form? Utility and serving for a purpose with comfort were more important than fashionista designs with quite artistic lines for the elite. Just because Bauhaus supported mass production, in every home functional and fancy furniture could be found. Therefore Bauhaus designs had basic shapes and forms with clean lines serving the purpose of the design which is for everyday life and suitable for every budget. Functionality of the design was so on the foreground that students were creating their pieces regarding their motto. This enabled to give more space for people and life in interior design by serving the everyday life’s needs and problems basically. The furniture was not anymore a product of showing off but it just functioned as furniture for people’s dwelling. In that sense, it could be said that Bauhaus design was actually the product of total understanding of the society, development of everyday life and needs of future by leaning on the giving a living space for everyone. 

Bauhaus As A Necessity of Modernity

It is not wrong to say that modern furniture began with the Bauhaus re-productions and editions of Bauhaus is made by many furnishing companies. Even the IKEA concept is the extension of what Bauhaus planned to do. Plus IKEA furniture is inspired by the designs of Bauhaus as a living and loved form of Bauhaus today.

Bauhaus accomplished developing through its 14 years of existence just because it was committed to its notions strictly. It was directly related to the society of its time and it stayed in contact with the natural laws so it also discarded the academism while always questioning the notion of form. Apart from that one of the most influential effects of the school was that students and teachers were spread all around the world because of the Nazis. Even if it seems a very tough situation, it enabled to affected modern design radically all around the world which was one of the reasons that it has a huge impact on societies all over the world.

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Just like modernism, Bauhaus was in between the fierce years of two wars. However being a necessity of modernism and having socialist values in a long period caused an irony that runs our lives today because with the development of capitalism after World War Two, corporations became on the foreground, production, advertising and selling across borders became possible. Bauhaus had a role in corporations, as well. It was just like spreading of socialism that was quite complemented with the principles of Bauhaus however it was also ironic that the real spread idea was capitalism. 

Lead Way To Modern Decoration of 21Th Century

Recent interpretation of Bauhaus design by Knoll in 2019

Recent interpretation of Bauhaus design by Knoll in 2019

Even a gradually change happened depending on where Bauhaus went on its teaching, these general principles changed our perception of form, function and furniture found in our homes. They defended geometric shapes and simplicity is enough for designing furniture regarded with its purpose of design. They foregrounded functionality rather than fancy and ornate furniture that embellishes the estates of the rich. So Bauhaus formed the milestones of designing styles such as minimalism, Scandinavian or industrial style.

By using geometrical forms, instead of floral patterns, they prefer basic colours with the purpose of function of the furniture which is a common feature of minimalism and Scandinavian style. Enough is enough principle ran for Bauhaus regarding the utility for instance. Simplicity in form and giving space for rough materials such as steel, glass, leather or concrete were other common features shared by industrial style and  Bauhaus.

However, this simplicity, plainness and even almost sterile atmosphere of Bauhaus design is not very well received by some people. Being aesthetically boring and too much simple share the lead in consideration of critics for Bauhaus. There will be always such critics for any other movement or style. It is not a necessity to love a movement just because its effects were very vast in scope. The only crystal-clear fact is Bauhaus has a huge impact on forming modern furniture.

The other reason of Bauhaus has still an essential role for setting trends that its principles can shape and be applied even today’s interior design that its ideas and forms are open to reinterpretation thanks to its basic shapes use of clean lines, smooth surfaces without ornamented curves besides they were very practical and useful.

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