Staatliches Bauhaus was a physical college, an institute of design, in Dessau, central Germany, founded by Walter Groupius in the mid 1920's. Following the end of WWI a small group of designers saw the emergence of machines, the new technologies and new materials that had been developed during the war and looked at using these to mass-produce consumer goods. The movement grew to include furniture, household consumer items and also strongly featured graphic design and typography.
Their vision was to connect traditional craftsmanship with functional technology, thus making it a very futuristic movement of its time. It was very much 'the rise of the machines'.
Their approach was to adopt the mechanical and industrial aspects of the design rather than hiding them. Their use of new materials of the time such as tubular steel, leather, glass and canvas and combining these was a ground-breaking change from traditional Victorian and Edwardian wood crafting. In an era that was known as 'the roaring '20's', Bauhaus embraced this new sense of change and the breaking down of old boundaries, which made it all very exciting!
The school closed in 1933 due to the political situation in Germany and the rise of the Nazi movement but its influence continued, especially through the work of Florence Knoll and the Knoll Furniture Company in the USA and right up to graphic design and typography used today.
Core designs in furniture include the Wasilly chair, which was the first to use bent tubular steel and canvas and was apparently inspired by a bicycle.
William Wagenfeld's lamp was an early Bauhaus design and shows the functionality and aesthetics very beautifully.
Other furniture of the era by Mies van Der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray and Hoffman carry a strong Bauhaus influence in their design and form.
Mix and match some of these iconic furniture pieces with some 1930's typographic posters or art-work to create that Bauhaus look that remains as futuristic as ever today.
Read more on other 20th century furniture styles.