As a former art student, I learned about a ton of design periods and their individual styles. One that always stuck out to me was Bauhaus. Its impact was across mediums, one of my favorite being interior design. When sourcing moods and inspiration for Mass Over Matter, this era came to mind a lot. So today, I want to break down Bauhaus and its influence on interior design a bit more for everyone. *dusts off class notes from 8 years ago*
Where Bauhaus Started
Bauhaus style originated in Germany. The Bauhaus was actually a design school there that was opened in 1919 by an architect by the name of Walter Gropius. It ran until the 1930’s. The school aimed to unify the arts from architecture to typography, and start a total art movement. The minimalist ideals from this era sprung from the idea that “form follows function”, eliminating unnecessary elements that were just for aesthetics.
Following these ideas of simplicity, furniture designers during this era created beautiful pieces that were functional and unique, but could also easily be mass produced. I love how much this brought modern design to “the average person”, or consumer.
The Wassily Chair by Marcel Breur was created while he was still just an early student at The Bauhaus. It is very popular and still available today to purchase online. Items like this and other popular furniture such as the Barcelona chair by Ludwig Mies didn’t hide materials or construction and focused on true geometric forms.
Bauhaus Interior Design
Of course, with this era effecting everything from architecture to furniture, Bauhaus style spilled into interior design as well. From walls that were all white, to furniture pieces in monochrome or primary colors, to home decor items that were sleek and functional, home spaces were changing. Other ideals from the movement were also translated into interiors, such as the minimalism, and a focus on a ton of natural light. In a home that adopts a Bauhaus interior design style, every item will have a clear function. Nothing is around just to look pretty.
Classic Bauhaus Interior, Berlin – 1937
Modern Interpretation of Bauhaus Interior Design – using original pieces – via Zeitlos Berlin
I am also in love with so many home decor pieces from the Bauhaus era. Again, the mix of functionality and unique design for even the most common objects or appliances come to life in this style. Here are a few of my favorites:
The End of Bauhaus – The Start of History
The Nazi’s and heavy politics were the cause of the end of The Bauhaus school and their open design thinking. This caused many of the movement’s leaders to migrate to America. Here, they taught at institutions such as Harvard. Due to this, Harvard now, with the help of Walter Gropius himself, has accumulated a huge collection of Bauhaus imagery and history. The collection covers all areas of the movement from art to furniture to buildings. You can dive into the archives here. Of course, this movement lives on in our hearts and through brands such as IKEA that thrive on its principles.
Hope you loved this little art history spill and take some time to explore the era further, and shop for a functional piece.