With the exhibition “The Bauhaus #itsalldesign”, the Vitra Design Museum presents a comprehensive overview of design at the Bauhaus.
Encompassing a collection of rare, and in some cases never-before-seen exhibits from the fields of design, architecture, art, film and photography, The Bauhaus #itsalldesign exhibition parallels the design of the Bauhaus with current design trends, revealing the present-day relevance of the legendary institution.
The mission of the Staatliches Bauhaus, founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, was to create a new type of designer. Bauhaus students acquired not only artisanal and artistic foundations but also a knowledge of the human psyche, the process of perception, ergonomics and technology – a profile considered progressive at the time, but one which is still very relevant to designers today.
The concept of design at the Bauhaus gave designers a comprehensive creative mandate, with keywords like “social” and “open” design and “design thinking”, encouraging a comprehensive understanding of design: not merely to create objects for daily use, but to take an active role in the shaping of society. In this respect, the Bauhaus played a decisive role in the omnipresence of design today.
The exhibition looks at the historical and social context of the Bauhaus, and examines not only iconic but also lesser-known design objects from Bauhaus artists and designers including Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius, and Wassily Kandinsky among others. It also attempts to demonstrate how different disciplines, including stage artists, architects and artists, were involved in formulating the understanding of design at the Bauhaus, creating an artistic experiment at the junction of art, craft, technology and industry, while exploring the impact of design in all areas of life.
The exhibition also examines the communication of the Bauhaus, from typography, photography and exhibitions to experimental film art and the – often methodically planned – creation of myths and clichés that surround the Bauhaus.
To achieve a current perspective on the Bauhaus, and to highlight the parallels between current debates in design and those that played a central role at the Bauhaus, the exhibition convenes historical exhibits from the Bauhaus era with works by contemporary designers, artists and architects, including digitally produced furniture by Minale Maeda and Front, Van Bo Le-Mentzel’s Hartz IV furniture, manifestos by designers like Hella Jongerius and Opendesk, interviews with creative figures like Lord Norman Foster, Enzo Mari, Sauerbruch Hutton and Boss Womenswear Artistic Director Jason Wu, as well as homages to the Bauhaus by Mike Meiré, Studio Miro, Dokter and Misses, Alberto Meda, Jerszy Seymour and other designers. These contemporary contributions highlight the continuing influence of the Bauhaus, in areas as diverse as automotive design at Mercedes-Benz and the furniture series Pipe (2009) by Konstantin Grcic for Muji and Thonet, inspired by Marcel Breuer. Among the current works featured in the show are four projects commissioned especially for the exhibition from the Leipzig-based artist Adrian Sauer, the concept artist Olaf Nicolai as well as Joseph Grima and Philipp Oswalt, who are both architects and authors.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 400+ page publication containing an extensive illustrated catalogue, a glossary of key concepts and terms relating to design at the Bauhaus and essays by renowned designers, artists, architects and authors from all over the world, including Lord Norman Foster, Tobias Rehberger, Arik Levy, Hella Jongerius, Arthur Rüegg and Patrick Rössler, whose ideas, projects and theses reflect the present-day relevance of the Bauhaus.
The Bauhaus #itsalldesign exhibition, curated by Jolanthe Kugler, is a collaboration of the Vitra Design Museum and the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundeskunsthalle). Following its debut at the Vitra Design Museum (26.09.2015 – 28.02.2016), the exhibition will open at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn in spring 2016.