The Bauhaus exhibition

On the 26th of September the inspirational  ‘The Bauhaus #itsalldesign’ exhibition opened at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein. The exhibition encompasses a multiplicity of rare, in some cases never-before-seen exhibits from the fields of design, architecture, art, film and photography at the Bauhaus. At the same time, it confronts the design of the legendary German school with current debates and tendencies in design and with the works of contemporary designers, artists and architects. In this way, the exhibition reveals the surprising present-day relevance of a legendary cultural institution. Bauhaus artists and designers featured in the exhibition include Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky and many more. Contemporary participants include the works of Olaf Nicolai, Adrian Sauer, Enzo Mari, Lord Norman Foster, Opendesk, Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jongerius, Alberto Meda and Jerszy Seymour. We can’t wait to visit this extraordinary overview.

The mission of the Staatliches Bauhaus, founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, was to educate a new type of designer. Students at the Bauhaus were to acquire artisanal and artistic foundations as well as knowledge of the human psyche, the process of perception, ergonomics and technology. Yet the concept of design at the Bauhaus also gave designers a comprehensive creative mandate: they were not to merely fabricate objects of daily use, but should take an active role in the transformation of society.

The exhibition is divided into four thematic groups, beginning with a look at the historical and social context of the Bauhaus. A second section examines iconic but also lesser-known design objects from the Bauhaus, as well as the history of their origins at the junction of art, craft, technology and industry. A further area of the exhibition investigates the theme of space and demonstrates how many different designers were involved in formulating the understanding of design at the Bauhaus – including stage artists, architects with their deliberations on minimum dwellings and artists who developed colour theories and spatial models.

The juxtaposition of historical and current exhibits yields a new, more differentiated picture of design at the Bauhaus. It does away with the cliché that so-called Bauhaus design was primarily minimalistic, cool and geometric, showing the great interest of Bauhaus designers in social interconnections, experiments and processes. With its open concept of design, the Bauhaus has played a decisive role in the omnipresence of design today. The exhibition reveals surprising parallels between many current debates in design and those that played a central role at the Bauhaus.

With such keywords as social design, open design or ‘design thinking’, we now see renewed discussions of how designers can place their work in a larger context and help shape society. Viewed from this present-day perspective, the exhibition regards the Bauhaus as a complex, multi-dimensional ‘laboratory of modernism’; with close links to current design tendencies.

‘The Bauhaus #itsalldesign’ is accompanied by an over 400-page publication, which contains an extensive illustrated catalogue section as well as essays by renowned authors such as Arthur Rüegg and Patrick Rössler along with a glossary of key concepts and terms relating to design at the Bauhaus. The contemporary outlook on the Bauhaus is further extended and elaborated through numerous short contributions by renowned designers, artists and architects from all over the world – including Lord Norman Foster, Tobias Rehberger, Arik Levy and Hella Jongerius – whose ideas, projects and theses reflect the present-day relevance of the Bauhaus.

The ‘The Bauhaus #itsalldesign’ exhibtion will run until the 28th of February 2016 at the Vitra Design Museum at the Charles-Eames-Str. 2 in Weil am Rhein in Swiss. Following its debut at the Vitra Design Museum, the exhibition will open at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn in spring 2016.

For all information see here