BAUHAUSSTORY - An excursion into the history of the Bauhaus
At the insistence of conservative circles, the funds for the Bauhaus were reduced so drastically in 1924 that it had to seek a new place of action. With the move to Dessau, in a phase of economic upswing, the Bauhaus became a municipal institution of design. Almost all masters made the move to Dessau. Former students took over the management of workshops as Jungmeister. From 1926 to 1932, Dessau produced famous works of art and architecture as well as influential design designs. Drawn by the constant battles for the continued existence of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius resigned from his position as director on 1 April 1928. His successor was the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer (1889-1954). His work was aimed at a “harmonious design of society”. By focusing on cost-effective industrial mass production, products should be affordable for broad sections of the population. Despite his successes, the Marxist orientation of Hannes Meyer became a problem for the city fathers in the sharpened domestic political situation from 1929, he was terminated in 1930. Under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), the Bauhaus developed from 1930 to a kind of technical college of architecture with zuarbeitenden art and workshop departments. After the election victory of the National Socialists, the Bauhaus was expelled from Dessau in September 1932. In Berlin, where the school moved, there was only a short period of new beginnings. In 1933, under the pressure of the National Socialists, the self-dissolution of the Bauhaus took place.
Harry Bertoia Best known as a sculptor and furniture designer, Harry Bertoia was born in San Lorenzo, Udine, Italy. In 1928 he began taking drawing classes in Italy before immigrating first to Canada, then to Detroit in 1930. He received a scholarship to the School of the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts in 1936 and a year later was awarded a teaching scholarship at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. There he taught metalworking from 1937 to 1942 and then graphics for one year. In 1943 Bertoia moved to Los Angeles to work as a furniture designer. He also took welding classes at Santa Monica City College and in 1947 created his first welded sculptures. During this period Bertoia became an American citizen. His employer, Knoll Associates, introduced the Bertoia Collection of furniture in 1952. The following year he received his first commission for a large-scale sculpture for the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.
Marcel Breuer Breuer, Marcel, Hungarian-American architect, designer, and teacher, who helped establish the functionalist principles underlying the International style. Breuer was born in Pécs, Hungary, and studied at the Bauhaus school of design in Weimar, Germany. He practiced architecture in Berlin until the rise of the Nazi Party, fleeing to England in 1933 and then to the United States in 1937. There he helped develop the influential School of Architecture at Harvard University. During the 1950s and 1960s Breuer designed a number of prominent buildings in the United States and Europe. His buildings are generally composed of severe blocks in rough, unfinished stone or concrete and wood.
Edouard-Wilfrid Buquet At 4.29 p.m. on 9th February, 1927 Eduard-Wilfrid Buquet field his patent for parts of this lamp, particularly the flexible joints, at the Ministère du Commerce et de l’Industrie in Paris. Various versions were produced until 1940’s. Although little is known about Buquet we do know that he produced this lamp himself and probably designed it as well. We had to modify certain details for technical reasons, namely the interior of the flexible joints and the stand, which used to be made of wood. Since the small reflector will only take a small holder, we have equipped the lamp with halogen 50 Watt. The transformer is housed in the stand, which is thus made of metal. Virtually all parts have to be handmade.
Pierre Chareau The French architect and designer Pierre Chareau first came to public notice through the work he exhibited at the Salon dAutomne and the Société des ArtistesDécorateurs after the First World War. He contributed the study of the Ambassade Francaise at the Paris 1925 exhibition and subsequently divided his time between furniture design and architectural works, including the Beauvallon Golf Club (1927), the interior of the Grand Hotel de Tours (1929) and his Maison de Verre (1928-31), so called because of an innovative use of glass tiles on the exterior. He was a member of the Union des Artistes Modernes from its inception in 1930. His chair designs of the early 1920s show a preference for undecorated ample rounded forms, executed in highly polished woods – mahogany, walnut, oak, ash or maple – with rich upholstery.
Le Corbusier In 1887 Le Corbusier was born as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland). He went to an Art School to become a watch engraver in this centre of Swiss watch industry. However, his teacher, L’Eplattenier, persuaded him to become an architect. After having had problems with Schwob he decided to leave Switzerland for France and to adopt the name Le Corbusier. He swore never to come back to Switzerland. After the World War I he totally changed his style to help build up France. This is where he developed the new construction method that he called ‘Plan Libre.’ He allowed himself some liberty for the first time when designing Ronchamp in 1950.
Charles Eames Eames, Charles (1907-1978), American architect and designer, best known for his seminal formfitting designs for chairs. He studied architecture under Eliel Saarinen and in 1940 collaborated with Eero Saarinen in designing a chair that won first prize in the organic furniture competition sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This chair, with a molded plywood shell, foam-rubber padding, and innovative rubber-weld joints, unfortunately proved too expensive for mass manufacture, but Eames continued to pursue his goal of creating an artistically valid design that could also be produced by modern mass-production techniques. In collaboration with his wife, Ray (Kaiser) Eames, he succeeded in 1946 with an elegantly simple chair consisting of a molded plywood back and seat, mounted on a tubular metal frame; this design became the prototype for much mass-production seating of the 1950s and ’60s.
Mariano Fortuny Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo,(May 11, 1871–May 3, 1949), son of the painter Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, was a Spanish fashion designer who opened his couture house in 1906 and continued until 1946. “Mrs. Condé Nast wearing one of the famous Fortuny tea gowns. This one has no tunic but is finely pleated, in the Fortuny manner, and falls in long lines, closely following the figure, to the floor.” Fortuny was born to an artistic family in Granada, Spain. His father, a genre painter, died when Fortuny was three years old and his mother, daughter of another famous painter, Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, moved the family to Paris, France. It became apparent at a young age that Fortuny was a talented artist, as he, too, showed a talent for painting. The family moved again in 1889 to Venice. As a young man, Fortuny traveled throughout Europe seeking out artists he admired, among them the German composer Richard Wagner. Fortuny became quite varied in his talents, some of them including painting, photography, sculpting, architecture, etching and even theatrical stage lighting. In 1897, he met the woman he would marry, Henriette Negrin, in Paris. He died in his home in Venice and was buried in the Campo Verano in Rome. His work was a source of inspiration to the French novelist Marcel Proust.
Eileen Gray On August 9. 1878, Eileen Gray was born to an aristocratic family in Enniscorthy, a small market town in south-eastern Ireland, and spent her childhood years there. As a young adult, in order to develop her artistic sensibilities, she entered the Slade School for Fine Arts in London and from there moved to Paris where she would spend most of her working life. Paris at the turn of the century was a creative mecca for visual and performance artists, writers, scientists and philosophers. She was strikingly elegant in appearance with a tall lithe stature and auburn hair. Pictures of her, taken in her late teens and early twenties show her dressed in a Victorian style with thick tresses of dark hair piled on top of her head. In these pictures she seems a timid and slightly sad young woman with a hint of disdain in her expression, which may have been the fashion at the time for young people of her class. Later, in a 1926 photograph by Berenice Abbott she appears as a strong sophisticated woman with a lot of style, a little bit mannish perhaps – a tendency among the bohemian set at that time – but with a lot of womanly beauty.
René Herbst He was born in Paris where he completed his studies; in 1908 he begins to collaborate with various architectural studios – first in Paris and then in London and Frankfurt. In 1921 he makes his debut at the “Salon d’Automne” where he presents “a restful corner” at the Musée de Crillon. Afterwards, in addition to exhibiting his innovative furniture made of metal tubing at the various “Salons”, he realizes numerous architectural projects: cinema, the decoration of shops, restaurants, offices and galleries. Already in 1919 Herbst proceeds along the road of modern design occupynig himself with metal furniture, window displays and indoor lighting. As far as his designs for metal furniture are concerned, in 1926 we can recognize his complete maturation in the rigorous and functional design of his nickle plated metal models.
Josef Hoffmann Josef Hoffmann was born in Pirnitz, Moravia (now Czechoslovakia) in 1870. He studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Carl von Hasenauer and Otto Wagner, whose theories of a functional, modern architecture profoundly effected his architectural works. He won the Rome prize in 1895 and the following year joined the Wagner’s office. Hoffmann established his own office in 1898 and taught at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule from 1899 until 1936. He was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, a group of revolutionary artists and architects. He actively supported the group by designing its exhibitions and writing for the magazine Ver Sacrum. In 1903 he helped found the Wiener Werkstätte. Although Hoffmann’s earliest works belong to a Secessionist tangent of the Art Nouveau, his later works introduced a vocabulary of regular grids and squares. The functional clarity and abstract purity of his later works mark him as an important precursor of the Modern Movement. A highly individualistic architect and designer, Hoffman’s work combined the simplicity of craft production with a refined aesthetic ornament. He died in Vienna in 1956.
Karl Jacob Jucker Karl Jacob Jucker Zurich 1902 – 1997 Schaffhausen Silversmith Completion of a silversmith at the Zurich School of Art 1922nd At the Bauhaus from 1922-1923: Preliminary Course at Muche, training in the metal workshop. Later, in a Swiss designer silverware factory and a teacher at a vocational school.
Charles Mackintosh Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1868. In 1884 he began an apprenticeship with John Hutchinson and began attending evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1889 he became an architectural assistant with Honeyman & Keppie. He also enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1890 he won a travelling scholarship and toured Italy before settling down into practice. While enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art, Mackintosh developed an artistic relationship with Margaret MacDonald, Frances Macdonald and Herbert McNair. Known as “The Four”, they exhibited posters, furnishings, and a variety of graphic designs in Glasgow, London, Vienna and Turin. These exhibitions helped establish Mackintosh’s reputation. With a design philosophy solidly rooted in Scottish tradition, Mackintosh disregarded the architecture of Greece and Rome as unsuitable for the climate or needs Scotland. He believed that a revival of the Scottish Baronial style, adapted to modern society would meet contemporary needs.
George Nelson George Nelson (1908-1986) was a pioneering modernist who ranks with Raymond Loewy, Charles Eames, and Eliot Noyes as one of America’s outstanding designers. Nelson’s office produced some of the twentieth century’s canonical pieces of industrial design, many of which are still in production: the ball clock, the bubble lamp, the sling sofa. Nelson also made major contributions to the storage wall, the shopping mall, the multi-media presentation, and the open-plan office system. The author of this definitive biography was given access to Nelson’s office archives and personal papers. He also interviewed more than 70 of Nelson’s friends, colleagues, employees, and clients (including the late D. J. De Pree, former head of the Herman Miller Furniture Company and Nelson’s chief patron) and obtained many previously unpublished images from corporate and private archives. The full range of Nelson’s work is represented, from product and furniture design to packaging and graphics to large-scale projects such as the Fairchild house and the 1959 American National Exhibition in Moscow. Because Nelson was a serious and original thinker about design issues, Abercrombie quotes extensively from his published and unpublished writings, offering provocative new material to students of design theory and philosophy.
Isamu Noguchi 1904 Born November 17 in Los Angeles. 1906 Family moves to Japan. 1918-22 Returns alone to the United States to attend school in Rolling Prairie, Illinois. After graduation apprentices in sculpture studio of Gutzon Borglum. 1923 Moves to New York. Enrolls in Columbia University’s premedical program. 1924 Studies sculpture at Leonardo da Vinci Art School in New York. 1927-28 Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Travels to Paris where he works as an assistant to Brancusi and studies drawing at Academy Grande Chaumičre and Academy Collarosi. 1929 First solo exhibition at the Eugene Schoen Gallery, New York. 1930-31 Studies brush drawing with Chi Pai-shih in Beijing and clay sculpting with Jinmatsu Uno in Kyoto. 1935 Creates first of many stage sets for Martha Graham. 1938 Wins competition and creates relief sculpture for entrance of Associated Press building at Rockefeller Center, New York. 1951 Begins to design akari lamps. 1956 Designs gardens at UNESCO in Paris. 1968 Retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. 1974 Participates in Masters of Modern Sculpture show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 1985 Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum opens to the public in Long Island City, New York. 1986 Represents the United States at the Venice Biennale. 1987 Receives the National Medal of Arts. 1988 Dies December 30 in New York.
Gyula Pap Gyula Pap (1899 – 1983) was one of the Bauhaus artist-students. He later became a teacher and the Bauhaus had a great influence on his whole life. The black and white photographs, original paintings, fabrics and metalwork displayed are from the collector Dr. Friedrich Hellersberg, Heppenheim near Frankfurt, Germany. The exhibition is on loan by Andrea Hassan, who studied at what is now called the Bauhaus University in Weimar, and has been a Dubai resident for nearly 25 years. As a mediator between the cultures, she has brought this exhibition here to raise awareness about the Bauhaus. “If nothing else, Dubai’s skyline would never have developed without Bauhaus principles set forth,” she observes.
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1888. After working in his father’s joinery business, he apprenticed at a jewellery studio. In 1911 he started his own cabinet-making firm, which he maintained for eight years. In this same period, he studied architecture. Through his studies he became acquainted with several founders of De Stijl. In 1917 Rietveld designed the Red Blue Chair, which signalled a radical change in architectural theory. His unusual furniture designs led to several housing commissions which he invariably designed in a Neo-plastic style. The designs utilized the free and variable use of space and showed a profound understanding of dynamic spatial ideas. In the late 1920s architecture in the Netherlands focused on the idea of “dematerialization”. This idea influenced a series of terrace houses with which Rietveld was involved. In 1928 Rietveld acted as a founding member of CIAM. With a few exceptions, the 1930s and 1940s were not particularly productive for Rietveld. Between 1942 and 1948, Rietveld taught at several institutions in the Netherlands. In 1963 he was elected an honorary member of the Bond van Nederlandse Architecten and in 1964 he received an honorary degree from the Technische Hochschule in Delft. Rietveld died in Utrecht in 1964.
Mies van der Rohe Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe was born in Aachen, Germany in 1886. He worked in the family stone-carving business before he joined the office of Bruno Paul in Berlin. He entered the studio of Peter Behrens in 1908 and remained until 1912. Under Behrens’ influence, Mies developed a design approach based on advanced structural techniques and Prussian Classicism. He also developed a sympathy for the aesthetic credos of both Russian Constructivism and the Dutch De Stijl group. He borrowed from the post and lintel construction of Karl Friedrich Schinkel for his designs in steel and glass. Mies worked with the magazine G which started in July 1923. He made major contributions to the architectural philosophies of the late 1920s and 1930s as artistic director of the Werkbund-sponsored Weissenhof project and as Director of the Bauhaus. Famous for his dictum ‘Less is More’, Mies attempted to create contemplative, neutral spaces through an architecture based on material honesty and structural integrity. Over the last twenty years of his life, Mies achieved his vision of a monumental ‘skin and bone’ architecture. His later works provide a fitting denouement to a life dedicated to the idea of a universal, simplified architecture Mies died in Chicago, Illinois in 1969.
Eero Saarinen Eero Saarinen was born in Kirkkonummi, Finland in 1910. He studied in Paris and at Yale University, after which he joined his father’s practice. Eero initially pursued sculpture as his art of choice. After a year in art school, he decided to become an architect instead. Much of his work shows a relation to sculpture. Saarinen developed a remarkable range which depended on color, form and materials. Saarinen showed a marked dependence on innovative structures and sculptural forms, but not at the cost of pragmatic considerations. He easily moved back and forth between the International Style and Expressionism, utilizing a vocabulary of curves and cantilevered forms. Saarinen died in Ann Arbour, Michigan in 1961.
Mart Stam Mart Stam is an architect, planner and designer (especially chairs). Dutch. Stamréussit Mart to be present at important moments in the history of twentieth century architecture. Mart Stam studied at the Royal School of Higher Studies in Amsterdam. At Zurich in 1923 it was originally the magazine ABC Beiträge zum Bauen (the ABC’s contribution to the building) with the architect Hans Schmidt, Hannes Meyer, and future director of the Bauhaus and El Lissitzky. After moving to Berlin, designed a chair Stam cantilever steel tube using pipes and gas pipes connecting standard. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe read the work of Stam on the creation of chairs in the design of Weissenhofsiedlung and made by Marcel Breuer of the Bauhaus. This immediately brought the two creators, as well as Mies Breuer, to a variation on the theme of tubular cantilever chair. This gives a mortance Mart Stam in terms of influence on his contemporaries. In the late 20, Breuer and Stam went before the German courts, everyone believed to be the inventor of the basic principle of the cantilever chair. Stam won, and from that moment some parts specific Breuer are wrongly attributed to Stam. Stam participation in the project developed permanent home in 1927 for the exhibition “Die Wohnung” (Habitat) in Stuttgart.
Philippe Starck Philippe Starck is a legend. An extraordinary mix of a popstar, crazy inventor and romantic philosopher. His work is omnipresent: from the stylish New York hotels to the catalogue for 4900,– FF, from the private rooms of a French President to the biggest waste removal center, from hundreds of thousands of chairs and lamps in bars and apartments all over the world to the tooth brushes in bathrooms.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld, born in Bremen in 1900, studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule and after he started his apprenditiceship as a silveremith. In 1923 he was a student at the metal work laboratory of the Bauhaus, ran by Moholy-Nagy, Wagenfeld become assistent in 1926 and teacher in 1929. In the ensuing years he began to work in industry: the Jenaer Glaswerke, the Vereinigte Lausitze Glaswerke, and the Rosenthal porcelain factory. After the war, Wagenfeld moved to Berlin where he taught industrial design, first at the Leibruitz Academy and then at the Fine Arts School. Wagenfeld, well known a “the modern craftsman”, managed to fit in with the industrial system. Not surprisingly, his name is closely linked to Bauhaus in Weimar, an astonishing incubator of pioneering experimentation and applied arts.
Frank Lloyd Wright Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867. He and his family settled in Madison, Wisconsin in 1877. He was educated at Second Ward School, Madison from 1879 to 1883. After a brief sting at the University of Wisconsin where he took some mechanical drawing and basic mathematics courses, Wright departed for Chicago where he spent several months in J. L. Silsbee’s office before seeking employment with Adler and Sullivan. Wright evolved a new concept of interior space in architecture. Rejecting the existing view of rooms as single-function boxes, Wright created overlapping and interpenetrating rooms with shared spaces. He designated use areas with screening devices and subtle changes in ceiling heights and created the idea of defined space as opposed to enclosed space. Through experimentation, Wright developed the idea of the prairie house – a long, low building with hovering planes and horizontal emphasis. He developed these houses around the basic crucifix, L or T shape and utilized a basic unit system of organization. He integrated simple materials such as brick, wood, and plaster into the designs. In 1914 Wright lost his wife and several members of his household when a servant burned down Taliesin, his home and studio in Wisconsin.
Anonimo The Bauhaus was an important design school centered on the applied arts and founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1919. Its founder, Walter Gropius, was an influential modern architect and later a teacher and director at the Bauhaus school. In addition to influencing modern architecture, art and graphic design, the Bauhaus school made significant contributions to early 20th-century furniture design. The Bauhaus school based its design philosophy on the principles that design should be relevant to the needs of society and that it should utilize modern technology and materials to inexpensively meet consumer needs. The Bauhaus school eschewed what it considered “bourgeois” decorative details and instead promoted functional, inexpensive, consumer products where form follows function and less is more. This philosophy resulted in clean, simple and modern design.