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What was the Bauhaus
(Haus-house). 1919-1925 Weimar
Bauhaus was initially the brainchild of architect Walter Gropius. He had been impressed by an organization called the Werkbund which was trying to integrate art, economics and engineering. The Werkbund sought to change the way each of these disciplines was treated and regarded. However in spite of many small successes they were failing to make an appreciable difference to broader audiences.
Gropius felt that what was needed to achieve professional business recognition and serious public notice- was a merger of Artistic and Design ability, with the skill of the practical craftsmen. He believed that this in combination with an understanding of basic economics and proven engineering skills would take the artistic process into a new era of creativity and productivity.
In 1919, Gropius was involved in the merger of the Weimar art Academy and the Weimar Arts & Crafts School. He renamed this new organization the ”Bauhaus” institute.
In retrospect it seems that his theory was quite correct: By teaching these different disciplines in one school, students were encouraged to take a wider more practical view of their creative endeavors.
Art and design was taught along side engineering and economics. The result was a shock wave of innovation that was to extend accross the globe and through time, into the modern era.
New forms of construction, the advent of tubular and flat section steel and new composite metals,and the advent of plastics all encouraged innovation which spread across the crafts, from lamps to cutlery, from chairs to desks and tables, ironwork, ornament, et al.
The Architecture and designs of Bauhaus members (like Corbusier, van der Rowe, Mackintosh, Lloyd Wright and others) offered a fresh bright new world, open-plan interiors (after Hoffmannn’s daring architectural roof truss/concrete experiments proved workable) premade and preassembled building parts encouraged pleasant and productive work places-enabled larger rooms in homes and official buildings-new styles of garden layouts offered recreation and a modern juxtaposition counterfoil for the new architectural genre.
Modern printing fonts made for easier reading (Nagy and Bayer) and art Deco to Art nouveau styles encompassed designs from teapots to pens to paintings and graphics. …..Life would never be the same again…..
Many of the members of Bauhaus were skilled in multiple disciplines, often having come from a hands on trade or craft background, on through Architecture and design and sometimes on into fine art and painting.
The amazing effects of this man's vision are still being felt today. Almost every item in every contemporary home owes something in its design to the concept or form of the Bauhaus.
One aspect of the Bauhaus that is less often discussed is that of copyrights and attribution. Technically if a Bauhaus teacher or student died (as many did during the succeeding years of war and political turmoil), the designs that he or she left behind became the property of the Bauhaus itself, often ending up in its Archives. The best of these designs were claimed by Gropius as his own... (an entirely permissable idea at the time). Others were mis attributed to other more prominent Bauhaus names (either intentionally or unintentionally). Most notably and predictably the designs of the female teachers were claimed by the male teachers.
When studying the creative products of the Bauhaus - one can be forgiven for getting quite confused. because the Bauhaus itself was such a rich melting pot of skills, crafts and expertise that collaborative projects were common, both within the school and between members of the school and peripherally involved personalities such as Stefan Sebok the architect. The result is that there are many less famous personalities who made a tremendous contribution to the Bauhaus, but will never be recognized fully.
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