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Bauhaus Spirit In The History Of Modern Furniture Design

by Hedwig Scarlett 25 Oct 2023 2 comments

The design principles and spirit of Bauhaus had a significant influence on subsequent modern design and were well reflected in furniture design.

"In every era, Bauhaus ideas about human nature, social responsibility, and taste serve as a stimulus." — William Smock, "The Bauhaus Idea" 2004

In the late 18th to early 19th century, with the rise of the Industrial Revolution, there was a growing gap between art and technology. Industrial products representing new technologies lacked aesthetic appeal, while exquisite designs were still crafted by hand.

Many designers and artists began to propose the unity of art and technology. It meant, under the conditions of modern industrial mass production, to combine the practical functionality and aesthetic beauty of products based on engineering technology and aesthetics in an organic and harmonious way. New industrial technologies required corresponding aesthetic styles, and modern design began to emerge.

Industrial Revolution

As the cradle of modern design and modern design education, the Bauhaus School of Design (Bauhaus, 1919-1933) established the unity of art and technology as its core principle from its inception. The Bauhaus was founded from 1919 to 1933, making it the world's first genuinely meaningful design institution, dedicated to bridging the gap between art and technology and pioneering the system and ideology of modern design education.

Bauhaus addressed the disconnect between art and technology, allowing students to better navigate the relationship between materials, craftsmanship, and theory in their design work, and integrating education with industrial production. Bauhaus emphasized a scientific and rational design approach, advocating for standardization and industrial production, laying the foundation for modernist design and modern design education through various avant-garde design concepts.

Bauhaus School

The design principles and spirit of Bauhaus had a significant influence on subsequent modern design and were well reflected in furniture design.

Bauhaus had dedicated furniture workshops and was one of the earliest workshops at Bauhaus to meet the requirements of standardization. Bauhaus' furniture design, while pursuing aesthetic beauty, also emphasized functionality. They aimed to create products for the masses through simple designs and the use of new materials and techniques. At the same time, new materials and techniques became more accessible and processable with the development of modern industrial technology, making materials like steel, glass, and plywood more readily available. While these materials were not considered conventional for making furniture at the time, they enabled large-scale production and represented Bauhaus' spirit of practicality. These aesthetically pleasing and functional designs provided a contemporary interpretation of the unity of art and technology.

Bauhaus Furniture

Bauhaus Furniture

In the design community, Bauhaus is jokingly referred to as having three treasures: geometry, primary colors, and "less is more." Today, let's analyze Bauhaus through the three elements of function, geometry, and color.

Bauhaus Elements

# Bauhaus @ Function #

"We oppose the practice of putting function and form in the wrong order."

"The purpose of design is people, not products."

"The ideal destination for a designed object is not a museum but to become an indispensable part of everyday life."

The ideas put forth by Bauhaus were groundbreaking at the time. They advocated for designing products that everyday people could afford, making life more convenient, comfortable, and beautiful.

Bauhaus Function

Bauhaus Function

# Bauhaus @ Geometry #

"Less is more" – Mies van der Rohe

"Design should have universal value."

"Incorporate an understanding of architectural aesthetics into design, enabling the coexistence of design, function, and artistic sense."

The ability to produce product designs in standardized forms is a key idea of Bauhaus. It emphasizes machine aesthetics and abstract geometric shapes, making circular, triangular, and square basic geometric shapes and their arrangements or transformations the most common elements of Bauhaus design.

Bauhaus Geometry

Bauhaus Geometry

Bauhaus Geometry

These designs, seemingly simple, contain a powerful and aesthetic impact. It truly exemplifies the idea that minimalism is the epitome of beauty.

# Bauhaus @ Color #

"Only through the combination of structure and color can true design be born," said Wassily Kandinsky, a Bauhaus instructor and the founder of abstract painting.

Bauhaus often incorporated bold colors into its designs, with particular emphasis on the use of the primary colors red, yellow, and blue.

Bauhaus Color

Bauhaus Color

Bauhaus Color

The Bauhaus style emphasizes freedom, rejects formalism, emphasizes functionality, focuses on the aesthetics of geometry, and adheres to the design philosophy of "function first, less is more." It continues to influence contemporary design in the field of furniture.

Styles that we are familiar with, such as modernism, minimalism, Nordic design, and Muji, all bear some traces of Bauhaus.


2 comments

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