Vitra presents the first comprehensive overview of the Bauhaus, now on show in Weil am Rhein as part of their Design Museum’s ongoing programme of exhibitions. Including objects and furniture as well as art, film and photography, many of the pieces on display have never been seen before, presenting a new perspective on the influential design school and its productions.
Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius in Weimar, the Bauhaus set the stage for design and almost a century later its principles are still observed and celebrated. Gropius and his colleagues gave students a creative and artisanal basis alongside notions of ergonomics, psychology and technology, ideas to be used as tools to shape society.
The exhibition develops like a journey, starting with an exploration of the historical and social context of the Bauhaus’ inception, while also showcasing some of the lauded furniture pieces and objects designed by its members. The show then shifts into a wider concept explored at the Bauhaus, featuring the school’s teachings and projects related to designing spaces; this section includes the notion of minimum dwellings, colour theories proposed by the likes of Josef Albers and spatial models developed within the institute. In the final section, the exhibition explores the Bauhaus’ communication material, from its avant garde typographical experiments to films produced at the school and photographs from its early days.
As well as an historical overview featuring archive material, the exhibition also offers a modern interpretation of the school's principles, through the works of contemporary creatives such as Enzo Mari, Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jongerius and Alberto Meda. To offer an up-to-date perspective on the Bauhaus and its legacy, the museum presents a series of works that demonstrate how its ambitious teachings have now become the norm for design professionals, contemporary pieces dotted throughout the exhibition to compare and contrast influences and tributes.
With an encyclopaedic route through the Bauhaus' legendary history, the exhibition is an essential tool to understand the school and its power over design, and is a fitting testimony to a still-strengthening legacy.