100 years old and more relevant than ever

My love for the Bauhaus kicked-in exactly ten years ago, when the design school celebrated the 90th anniversary of its foundation in Weimar. Until then, my knowledge about it had been fairly superficial and I mainly associated it with architecture and its founder Walter Gropius. Then, a Bauhaus exhibition came to London’s Barbican from Germany and a whole new Bauhaus world opened up to me. One that encompasses so much more than architecture.

I still remember the moment I caught a glimpse of a gorgeous, colourful wall hanging by textile artist Gunta Stölzl, one of the few Bauhaus women who managed to step out of the shadow of the roster of mighty Bauhaus men to achieve international acclaim, and I knew ‘this one is for me’. Another lasting memory from that exhibition is not a Bauhaus art and design object but a black and white picture of a group of young laughing Bauhäusler: joyful, mucking about, clearly having fun. It perfectly captured the spirit of that particular moment in time, that notion of not just doing things differently in art and design – Bauhaus was also about another way of living.

Ever since, I think that the Bauhaus is the coolest thing to have come out of Germany. I’m fascinated by how modern it was 100 years ago and how timeless it remains. Its style and ideas of ‘form follows function’ have travelled round the world and from Apple to Ikea, our daily design lives wouldn’t be the same without it. And I somehow feel that the approach of the Bauhaus founders, teachers and artists, of tearing down boundaries that existed between disciplines, establishing a whole new approach to art and design that has collaboration and knowledge-sharing at its heart, is more relevant than ever in our age of the digital transformation, where boundaries are blurred and things are forever changing.

The international take-up of this year’s Bauhaus centenary is quite amazing, and almost no day goes by that I don’t read about a Bauhaus-related exhibition, book or project somewhere in the world. I guess I’m not the only one then who has a bit of a soft spot for it. Very high on my personal Bauhaus list of things to see is the new Bauhaus Museum Weimar in the central German state of Thuringia that just opened on 6 April. It sits at the centre of a new ‘Modernism Quarter’ in town and houses the world’s oldest Bauhaus collection. And if someone then also got me one of those Gunta Stölzl wall hangings, I’d really be chuffed to bits…


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany Magazine.’

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