A revolutionary art school and movement of its time – and one that defined a period of modernity in (mostly) the Western world – Bauhaus and its teachings are perhaps as relevant today as they were at the start of the twentieth century. While more designers carve their niche outside of traditional modes and settle in intersectionality, the interdisciplinary programme feels necessary again in our day and age: instead of dividing disciplines, cross-fertilisation among the various practices of its teachers, artists and craftspeople can became a model once more.
“Let us strive for, conceive and create the new building of the future, which will unite every discipline – architecture, sculpture and painting – and which will one day rise heavenward from the million hands of craftspeople as a clear symbol of a new belief to come,” architect Walter Gropius wrote in the Bauhaus Manifesto in 1919 – an attitude stands strong even today.
The new publication by Assouline, authored by Mateo Kries, is a review of the Bauhaus style and looks at the evolution of modern life, from its political and social attitudes to its continuing impact on popular design. New perspectives on the school have emerged over the decades, with every generation interpreting the Bauhaus repertoire anew; yet, whether its style or its societal critique is adopted, its aesthetic continues to offer new ideas for designers of interiors, furniture, consumer products, fashion and architecture.
“I think the Bauhaus will speak to new generations of designers, but in different ways than today, just as its perception has evolved over the past century,” says Kries, who has been curator of the Vitra Design Museum since 1995 and is currently the director of its Berlin branch.
“In the post-war era, it has been seen mainly as a stylistic movement, while in contemporary times the Bauhaus’ social impetus [was] much more relevant than its mere aesthetic. Though I can’t predict its translation in twenty years, I could see the Bauhaus inspiring a rediscovery of crafts as a sustainable practice – after all, it was the Bauhaus movement that proved craftsmanship and modern design are in fact not opposites but perfectly complementary,” he continues. Kries also adds that while many books have already been written about the modern movement, “Assouline’s book offers a more playful and subjective approach to the Bauhaus world.”
The eclectic volume curates impactful images of architecture, art, objects, graphic design and fashion from the past 100 years, encapsulating the enduring modernity of the Bauhaus style.
See more of Assouline here.
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