The Bauhaus: Explore the design principles of this school and show how they are applied in chosen examples. E.g. ceramics, furniture, photography, book design.
The aim of the Bauhaus school was to create something new and interesting but keep the designs simple and straight forward; therefore in this essay I am going to explain the design principles of the Bauhaus and how the work from this is used in everyday lives.
There are a number of different design principles of the Bauhaus including mass production over individual craftsmanship, thorough experience with materials, a forward thinking over an academically qualifies faculty, and students must also function in society not as a decorator but as a vital participant. (1) The Bauhaus also had a design principle of keeping their designs to a minimum and concentrating on the build not the decoration.
In 1919 a German architect named Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in the city of Weimar. Its objective was to reimage the material world to reflect the unity of all the arts. By using the different art techniques of architecture, metalwork, weaving, pottery, typography and wall painting, the students of the Bauhaus created a numerous amount of different household items.(2)
Going back to the question of design principles, the Bauhaus created different household items including chairs – as you can see from the image on the right which are frequently created from such materials as steel, glass, bent wood, leather and plastic. The colours that are used a generally black, brown, white and grey which shows how the Bauhaus want to show the design side of the products rather than giving off a colourful feel. (3) Bauhaus furniture is normally plain and simple with no decorations included, and one of the Bauhaus slogans is ‘Art and Technology: A New Unity’. (4) The Bauhaus has influenced a lot of different designs even now in the twenty-first century, for example in 1960 Verner Panton created the Stacking Chair in Denmark which was made from polyester and fiberglass composite. As you can see both the two chairs pictured have a similar design style as the base of the chair goes underneath the seating area. (5)
This image at the bottom is a photograph taken on top on the Bauhaus roof, by T. Lux Feininger in 1927. Feininger was a painter and photographer who was a student at the Bauhaus, ever since the 50s his work was influenced by the Bauhaus and this was always noticeable to this audience. From going back to the essay question Lux Feininger has created these designs with the design principals of focusing on keeping his photography to the basic point of concentrating on the model and letting the audience know exactly what is going on, including emotions. Feniniger’s photograph captures a dramatic photo that perfectly expressed the freedom that was presented on both sides of the camera. (6)
The Bauhaus has a design principle of keeping their outcomes simple with shapes and colours, and many posters have been made to spread the word of the Bauhaus building. As you can see on the right there is an exhibition poster created by one of the teachers at the Bauhaus Joost Schmidt in 1923. Whilst studying at the Bauhaus, Joost Schmidt used structure to his work and created this design out of circles, squares and rectangles as well as primary colours. (7) In my opinion I feel that this exhibition poster Schmidt created goes well with the design principles as he has taken bold shapes to create an image which is used even today in many different ways. The typography is a simple serif font which tells the audience exactly what the poster is about, using a bold black fill on the most important information creates a hierarchy. From looking at the shapes more closely I feel that they create an outline of the Bauhaus school and Joost Schmidt has taken the Bauhaus logo – created by Oskar Schlemmer in 1922 (8) – and placed it in the centre of the two circular shapes. As a result you can tell just by looking at the exhibition poster that the design principles of the Bauhaus in 1919 are to concentrate on the message more than the design.
As well as the Bauhaus school creating art, they also created ceramics for everyday use. I feel from researching this in lesson the students of the Bauhaus made different types of ceramics for the survivors of World War One. The Bauhaus was created at the end of the war and I feel that one of their aims was not only to create straightforward art but to help the people of the war who have had their houses destroyed by bombs and Germans. From looking at the image on the right you can see that the school have taken their design principles into account to which Marguerite Friedländer-Wildenhain – who as a pottery student from 1919 to 1925 (9) – created this simple plain white tea pot. The tea pot spout was raised up to create a non-drip design, as well as the handle for easy pouring. Whilst Friedländer-Wildenhain was creating this design she thoroughly thought out the design principles to create the perfect tea pot. This ceramic design has been used since then and you can now find it in most households as you can see from the second image. Nowadays designers have kept the same design principles of Marguerite and then created a design pattern on them to make them more interior for everyday use. This shows how the designers are influenced by the Bauhaus and their design principles.
In 1923 the Bauhaus school put on an exhibition to present their work they created and the purpose of this was to tell the audience of designers and young adults about how they have created their ceramics and furniture for everyday use, not just to look at. This was the whole point in the Bauhaus school itself, Walter Gropius wanted to create the design principle of having the objects created used as everyday objects which are useful instead of just art. He wanted to create objects used at home, bringing unity together.
In conclusion to this essay I have explained how the Bauhaus has design principles of keeping the products and art work simple using shapes and colours to get the message across more clearly to their audience. As a result of this I feel that the war had something to do with the students creations and if the Bauhaus never existed then design today would be completely different. Overall the Bauhaus was named the ‘building of the future’ (10) and I feel that this definitely changed the future for good and that their design principles will definitely be used for another 1000 years to come.
(5) BOOK: Design Since 1945 by Peter Dormer