Bauhaus at 100: 5 key lines from the school of design
Simplicity. Functionality. Clean lines. These are just some of the principles that the Bauhaus school gave to the world, and from your IKEA bookshelf to your Apple iPhone, they continue to influence design today. But clean lines aren’t the only ones the school is famous for. As the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bauhaus, here are 5 other lines said by some of the school’s most famous artists and designers.
“Architects, sculptors, painters, we all must return to craftsmanship!”
Walter Gropius’s 1919 Bauhaus Manifesto was the school’s founding document and presaged our own decade’s current fashion for value-driven manifestos in business and culture. His call for artists to return to their crafts and help design a better world for real people saw design as delivering hope in the future.
“It is much better to have just one idea, and if the idea is clear, then you can fight for it. That is how you can get things done.”
Though he’s much more famous for pithier aphorisms like Less is more and God is in the details, this quote by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe could be a guiding principle for anybody in communication, management and politics. In Germany, America and the world, the Bauhaus director helped make glass and steel architecture the defining style of the 20th century.
“The illiterate of the future will be the person ignorant of the use of the camera as well as the pen.”
Like Mies van der Rohe, Hungarian artist and Bauhaus teacher Laszlo Moholy-Nagy also emigrated to Chicago after the school’s closure in 1933 to spread the legacy of Bauhaus throughout America. Today, with a 20-megapixel camera on everybody’s pocket mobile phone and the dominance of visual media on the web and Instagram, it’s clear that few people understood the future of media and communication better than Moholy-Nagy.
“1. sex life, 2. sleeping habits, 3. pets, 4. gardening, 5. personal hygiene, 6. weather protection, 7. hygiene in the home, 8. car maintenance, 9. cooking, 10. heating, 11. exposure to the sun, 12. services – these are the only motives when building a house.”
Whether or not that’s the order of your priorities when living in a house, this design philosophy spelled out by Swiss-born architect Hannes Meyer clearly demonstrates the Bauhaus insistence on functionality in architecture.
“A drawing is simply a line going for a walk.“
Swiss-born artist Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus for 10 years, and this lesson from his Pedagogical Sketchbook, a curriculum he designed for his art students at Bauhaus, remains one of his most playful, simple statements about art.
So, happy birthday, Bauhaus! You’re still influencing how we think about design at Prodir today.