The Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau
This year, the Bauhaus is celebrating its centenary. Founded in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, this modernist art school was the first to eliminate the traditional distinction between the fine arts and applied crafts — reflecting the idea that the artist’s new societal role was to design functional & aesthetically pleasing objects for mass production. The Bauhaus aesthetic is typically associated with the application of elementary forms & colours, but in fact its output was richly diverse, which is unsurprising if you consider that among its faculty the Bauhaus had outstanding artists such as Johannes Itten, László Moholy-Nagy, Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. The school’s importance lies in something other than its style, namely in its fundamental guiding principles, which evolved into the two dogmas that dominate the world of design today: form follows function and less is more.
The Bauhaus started in Weimar, in the building that at present is occupied by the Bauhaus University. Students organize a Bauhaus walking tour several times a week, and the new Bauhaus Museum will open in April. After the State of Thuringia had cut the school’s budget by half, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925. Here, both the iconic Bauhaus building and the Masters’ houses are open to the public, and the opening of yet another Bauhaus Museum is envisioned for September. When the Nazis closed the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1932, the director, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, moved the school to Berlin, where it saw its final closure in 1933. Nevertheless, the ideas of the Bauhaus continued to conquer the world, because, as Mies articulated, ‘Nur eine Idee hat die Kraft, sich so weit zu verbreiten’.bauhaus100.com