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Why is Bauhaus such a big deal in design?

From Weimar to Tel Aviv, visit the monuments to this century-old revolution.

That iPhone in your pocket? Your simple Ikea bookshelf? The glass box architecture of your local office park? You can thank a century-old design movement for their sleek lines and emphasis on utility.

Founded as an art school in 1919, Germany’s Bauhaus sparked a revolution in architecture and design. A hundred years later, its “less is more” philosophy, emphasis on straight edges and minimal decoration, and blurring of the borders between art and commerce can be seen in everything from apartment buildings to smartphones.

In the aftermath of World War I, German architect Walter Gropius was convinced art should play a social role. At his school in the central German town of Weimar, applied arts like architecture and typography were taught alongside fine arts. Gropius’ goal was “to create a new guild of craftsmen, without the class distinctions which raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist.”

Gropius’ ideas were soon taken up by a wide range of creative types, from painters like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky to font designers, furniture makers, weavers, costume designers, and choreographers. The movement represented an epic shift in how people approached design. Breakthroughs such as the iconic Wassily Chair or the “floating roof” of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion led generations of designers and architects to strip objects and buildings down to their most basic components.

The radical approach upset many at the time, and the Bauhaus—literally “building house”—was dogged by controversy from the start: It was forced to move from Weimar to nearby Dessau after only a few years, and then to Berlin. In 1933, the Nazis forced it to close entirely. But the modern ideas and aesthetic of the movement lived on. “Bauhaus is so important because it left behind not just objects but an immaterial legacy that’s still influential today,” says Berlin University of the Arts art historian Nina Wiedemeyer.

Read on >>>>> Source: National Geographic Why is Bauhaus such a big deal in design?

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