Dezignare Interior Design Collective Vol. 3.6

The Bauhaus Design Movement


by Klaus Labuttis of

The Bauhaus is one of the most important Design Movements in the twentieth century. It took place in Germany of the 1920s and early 1930s, the period of the Weimar Republic, an area considered one of the birthplaces of the Modern Movement in architecture and design.

The impact of the horrible experiences in the First World War, poverty and inflation created a new consciousness, which influenced strongly Design, Architecture and Art. This was the age of the Bauhaus, a movement which was a reaction to social change and which aspired an aesthetic relevance.

The "New Man" became the ideal, a concept that also expressed itself in living. The Bauhaus Design showed a purism with emphasis on straight edges and smooth, slim forms. The rooms were sparsely furnished, but filled with hygienic freshness. Superfluous features were taboo. Shining steel was discovered as a material for furniture.


A principle of the Bauhaus was to serve the development of contemporary housing, from the most basic household equipment to the complete house. Walter Gropius, the director of the Bauhaus, was convinced, "that houses and their furnishings must have a meaningful relation to each other and aims to derive the form of every object from its natural functions and limitations, by means of systematic experimentation."

The Bauhaus designers were fascinated by metal. Although metal has been employed for the frames of chairs since antiquity, it was surprising that the avant-garde metal furniture were greeted with consternation. The furniture looked so differently from the traditional style, that the masses could not relate to them.

For the Bauhaus designers metal or tubular steel was lighter, cheaper, less bulky and more hygienic than the traditional upholstered furniture. The idea behind this new aesthetics was to built cheap and beautiful homes, were the cool and durable materials of the furniture would create a new type of beauty. Steel has a natural elasticity. And steel had the added advantage of a certain uniformity. It gives the impression of a psychological and aesthetic purity. The formal transformation of chairs and sofas by the use of a framework of resilient metal or steel is a clear characteristic. Also beauty emanates from the furniture because of their exact forms and measurements, a kind of "Magic of precision".

Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer, whose Wassily Chair is one of the famous examples of the Bauhaus furniture, was in charge of the carpentry workshop. Breuer said, that he first got the idea for using tubular steel in furniture design from his beloved Adler bicycle, whose strength and lightness impressed him. The Wassily Chair, named after the painter Wassily Kandinsky, for whose quarters in Dessau it was originally designed, is a reworking of the traditional club chair. It reveals the influence of the Dutch modernist Gerrit Rietveld, in its arrangements of bisecting horizontal and vertical planes.

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier's ideas of furniture were simple and to the point. He said for example, "& a chair is a machine for sitting on." And the "machine concept" is shown clearly in some of his famous furniture designs. The so called LC4, the ultimate "Rest Machine" is one of the most comfortable Lounge Chairs ever built. The seat is held by elastic supports, which has led to new and unusual forms. Everything is dominated by smooth, elegant lines.

Mies van der Rohe

The furniture designs by Mies van der Rohe are among the most influential in the twentieth century. Van der Rohe's furniture are connected to his architectural designs and correspond closely to the architectural concept. They compliment the interiors of his buildings. Mies designed furniture only for a relative short time (1927 to 1932), but nevertheless are among the most influential of the modernist movement. Especially the Barcelona chair, designed for the German Pavilion in Barcelona, became a Symbol for the elegance of avant-garde living.

Courtesy of Klaus Labuttis of

Dezignaré Interior Design Collective, Inc.

©1998-2008 All Rights Reserved

Dezignare Interior Design Collective