As you may have heard, 2019 is a big anniversary year for Leonardo da Vinci and it’s causing some interesting news in the process. However, da Vinci isn’t the only one getting a big celebration. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bauhaus – the architecture and design school synonymous with sleekness and modernity – and Germany plans to celebrate in ‘true Bauhaus fashion.’ According to the Bauhaus 100 organization, a number of shows will mark the milestone through the ‘experimental, multifarious, transitional and radically contemporary.’ The events planned to commemorate the influential movement have even landed Germany in second on Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2019: Top Countries’.
A little Bauhaus history
In 1919, architect Walter Gropius began a small architecture school in Weimar, Germany that would go on to mould the architecture and design worlds with its principles on aesthetics. The traditional parameters for teaching were shaken up from the start. The usual pupil-teacher relationship was foregone to create a better sense of community for artists to work together. According to Tate, the aim of Bauhaus was to ‘bring art back into contact with everyday life, and architecture, performing arts, design and applied arts were therefore given as much weight as fine art.’ The name even comes from the German words for building (bau) and house (haus) – fundamental parts of everyday life. The school became a place for experimenting with new materials and techniques and trained a number of notable figures including Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, Anni and Josef Albers.
The school would go on to move twice. First, Bauhaus moved to Dessau where Gropius would build the now famous Bauhaus building and Hannes Meyer would lead the new architecture department for the school. Later, in 1933, under Ludwig Mies van der Rhoe, the third director of the school, Bauhaus would move to Berlin. Unfortunately, after only a semester in Berlin, the school was forced to close as political pressure from the Nazi party – who believed the Bauhaus to be the epicentre of communist intellect – grew. After the school closed, many of its students and teachers fled Germany. The Albers, for instance, left Germany for the US where they then worked at Black Mountain College, another experimental school with similar beliefs to Bauhaus.
Despite only operating for about 14 years, Bauhaus’ reputation has long outlived its actual time. Designs that became integral to the institution have shaped the world around us and continues to today. Architects, designers, and artists continue to recognize its importance and still find inspiration in its themes and signature styles.
Like to get in on the action?
Bauhaus 100 will boast a number of exciting exhibitions and experiences to commemorate the short-lived by incredibly impactful movement. Here are some of the main ones:
- ‘100 Years Bauhaus – The Opening Festival’
January 16 – 24
Akademie der Künste, Berlin
- ‘Bauhaus and America, Experiments in Light and Movement’
September 11th, 2018 – March 10th, 2019
LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster
- ‘Bauhaus Imaginista (Berlin Chapter: Still Undead)‘
March 15 – June 10
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
- ‘Loheland turns 100. An exemplary women’s project in the context of the Bauhaus’
March 1 – January 10, 2020
Künzell-Loheland, Loheland Foundation