But why should you care?
And why's everyone talking about it?!
Because it’s influenced everything you use.
From your iPhone, to airport signs at JFK, to fabric on the London Underground.
Bauhaus design is so familiar you don’t notice it. It’s seamlessly woven into your life.
But what is Bauhaus?
Bauhaus is all about minimal, functional, innovative design.
Qualities as important today, as they were 100 years ago.
To inspire you, I’ve selected the leading modern designs that embody the spirit of Bauhaus.
Ok, you don’t need a history lesson, but it helps to know a bit more.
Here are the Bauhaus essentials.
A radical art school that broke all the rules.
Similar to Britart in the 80’s and the YBA’s like Damien Hurst and Tracey Emin.
It moved from Weimar to Dessau and eventually Berlin due to political pressure.
Opening in 1919, it was closed by the Nazis in 1933.
Many famous designers, architects and artists taught or studied there.
Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Joseph and Anni Albers.
'to challenge the status quo’
It brought every creative discipline together. From textiles to architecture, fine art to typography, they were all seen as equally valuable. Students learnt by experimentation in workshops rather than lectures.
Bauhaus has influenced your modern interior more than anything else.
So I’ve curated the best contemporary designs, each representing a key aspect of this radical movement. Now you can Bauhaus your house.
You hear this term a lot, but what does it mean?
First, objects should work well.
Second, they should look good.
Although many Bauhaus designs were beautiful, it was more important that they worked. Your chair should be comfortable after all.
Todays design world is fierce and there’s no room for things that don’t work. They get left on the shelf. Apple didn’t become the most profitable company in history by making beautiful things. First their products solve problems. Second they look slick.
The best example of function over form is the shelf. At its simplest, a plank of wood, on two brackets, to store your books. In 1949, Nils and Kajsa Strinning took the basic shelf and developed it using the 'function over form' principle.
They created String, a beautiful and now iconic storage solution.
It can be configured in unlimited ways. Wall mounted side supports combined with shelves, racks, drawers, cupboards, desks and tables. It works in any situation you can imagine. The ultimate in functionality.
Bauhaus was a unique school. Students and teachers lived, studied and worked together under one roof - the Bauhaus building.
It was a blank canvas. A giant experiment.
They used the building to play out their crazy ideas. It was all about being bold and breaking the rules. You take this for granted now, but in 1919 painting walls white and using geometric patterns was radical.
One room that got obsessive attention was the kitchen.
They turned it on its head by inventing the modular unit. Now the kitchen could be fitted together like lego. Wall mounted cupboards, integrated sinks and cookers, and even the worktop. Your modern fitted kitchen was born.
Ikea kitchens represent many aspects of Bauhaus. They’re simple, functional, and accessible to all. Now take a look at Reform and you’ll see they’ve taken this a step further.
Using the best designers in the world, they’ve created cabinet fronts and worktops, to turn your basic Ikea shell into minimal perfection.
I love Degree in light grey by Cecilie Manz
Before Bauhaus, nobody thought about bringing technology into the arts.
99% of furniture was made of wood.
Today, technology’s an integral part of any design. Think 3D printing.
In 1919, the technological material of the time was tubular steel. It was strong and could be bent into any shape. From this, the Bauhaus created the first springy cantilever chair.
You probably bounced back and forward on one as a kid.
Their LL04 chair by Maarten Van Severen is minimal perfection. A continuous ribbon of steel, supports a sheet of beautifully hand-stitched leather, curved to fit your body. It’s incredibly comfortable and still has some of that original spring.
Take a look at this Minimal Apartment in Paris. The living room sofa is a great example of how you can use tubular steel in a modern interior.
To break the status quo, Bauhaus striped everything back to basic building blocks. This made the Bauhaus style very geometric.
But despite this progressive design approach, the Bauhaus was still in the dark ages when it came to women. They were only allowed into the weaving workshop.
Confined to the textile room with nothing but threads, the young student Anni Albers rose to the challenge. She took her revenge by producing the most beautiful work to emerge from the Bauhaus.
She created stunning geometric textiles that changed the world.
Recently celebrated in a Tate Modern retrospective, Albers had a huge impact on 20th Century art and design. From Bridget Riley to Orla Kiely, you see geometry everywhere.
Linie Design in Denmark, use subtle geometry in their handmade rugs. The colour palettes blend beautifully and lend a softness to the bold shapes. I particularly like the varying textures of Satomi.
We used this rug in a Modern Psychotherapy Centre in London.
You love minimalism in your home. It creates a calm, clutter free interior that makes you instantly relax.
Sparking the minimal movement, 'less is more’ was the Bauhaus mantra.
Stripping unnecessary ornamentation, they were the first to appreciate simplicity. Clean lines, streamlined forms and smooth surfaces.
An innovative modern example is the Naua chair, still in its prototype stage. Subtle curves and refined proportions make it simple and calm. Ultra pared back and cleverly engineered from Ash wood, there’s not a single screw or metal insert.
Designed by Mario Martinez, based in Copenhagen. He’s one to watch.
You’re loving Bauhaus, so here’s where to get more.
Immerse yourself in the unique world of the Bauhaus Building, Dessau. Stay in one of the original 28 studios at this UNESCO Heritage Site. Restored in meticulous detail, it’s so authentic there’s no hairdryer, television or minibar. And only one shower per floor!
Also in Dessau, a brand new museum opens this month. The building alone promises to be a spectacle. A black steel box suspended above an open atrium and surrounded by glass. For the very first time you can see the entire Bauhaus Dessau Foundation collection.
Be sure to drop by Design Museum Denmark in Copenhagen. You'll discover a stunning collection of rare Bauhaus originals alongside modern designs. And if you're seized by creativity? Get hands on and attend a real Bauhaus workshop.
Bauhaus has stood the test of time, because it was ahead of its time.
Ironically its closure was the key to its success. Catapulting teachers and students across the world, spreading the Bauhaus dream.
This brought us everything we love today - design led, minimal interiors.