“Architects, sculptors, painters, we all must return to the crafts! For art is not a “profession.” There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. In rare moments of inspiration, transcending the consciousness of his will, the grace of heaven may cause his work to blossom into art. But proficiency in a craft is essential to every artist. Therein lies the prime source of creative imagination.
Let us then create a new guild of craftsmen without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist! Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.”
– Walter Gropius
The school of art, architecture and design Bauhaus (bauhaus – inversion of the German word “hausbau”, which translates as “building houses”) was founded in 1919 Germany, Weimar by Walter Gropius and functioned until 1933 when Nazis came to power. With it’s new unique approach to teaching and reinventing the connection between art and technology, society, Bauhaus became the most influential modernist school, especially in architecture and design, maintaining it’s power even today. Besides, during it’s not so long time of existence, the school gathered artists, designers and architects such as: Wasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Herbert Bayer, Eileen Gray, Alvaar Aalto, Charles Eames, Frank Lloyd Whight, Eero Saarinen, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, Joseph Albers, Marcel Breuer, Hans Meyer and etc.
The cornerstone of Gropius’ philosophy was the vision that Bauhaus had to be the bridge between art and industry: if every field of art were regarded as higher order before, Gropius decided that it was essential to unite every branch of art and craft and to make them mass produced, for them to reflect the new era of architecture and design. This vision defined the unique elements of style, so popular in architecture and design even today:
The Bauhaus school became known for it’s attitude which favoured the functional side of a house or furniture over the aesthetic one. It was this era when the popular phrase “form follows the function” was born. Bauhaus neglected ornamentation and lavish decorative details, so popular before. Every element of the design had to have it’s function and practical usage.
The principle of Geometry
In Bauhaus architecture and design strict geometry and strong, rectilinear forms are dominant. The curves and forms that caused the waste of space and poor spatial planning were frowned upon. The use of simple geometric forms had to provide such planning of the interior and exterior of a building which would maximally economize space. This was of essential importance when it came to social housings, where the area for each habitant is strictly defined. Furthermore, it was encouraged to built houses with modest exteriors in contrast to the surrounding landscape of it. The best example of this probably is Farnsworth House of Mies van der Rohe.
“The truth of the materials” was one of the core principles that were taught to students. According to this principle materials should be used in the most “sincere” manner, without altering their nature. Every material, organique or manufactured, has it’s beauty which is created with their imperfection. For example, such material as steel, should be apparent and not hidden; Wood or marble surface is imperfect in nature and usually it’s being processed – why such marvelous feature has to be hidden? This principle shortened the time and energy needed for manufacturing process.
And lastly, it should be noted that despite its focus on simplicity, mass production and functional side, Bauhaus style doesn’t lack emotional depth.
Author: Nuka Zurashvili