No school of design has been as influential as the Bauhaus. It was one of the few sparks in design history that changed the world around it – a place that despite the economic turmoil and cultural conservatism of the world around it, offered a truly radical, international and optimistic vision of the future.
The art school and subsequent movement were founded by architect Walter Gropius in Germany in 1919.
Bauhaus asked the question “How can the modernization process be mastered by means of design?” The aim was to bring together people from disciplines to create what he called the "Gesamtkunstwerk," or "total work of art." From architecture to interior design principles, art and furniture design we can still experience Bauhaus influence and its ideas are spread worldwide and stay relevant. Below are the main characteristics of Bauhaus that have been both applied to architecture and interior design.
“Form follows function”
This simple phrase became one of the fundamental ideas of Bauhaus. It means that in design, a form should always be used for its function instead of its aesthetic appeal. The utility should come first and excessive ornamentations were avoided. According to this idea, simple but elegant geometric shapes were designed based on the intended function or purpose of a building or an object.
Gesamtkunstwerk or the ‘complete work of art’
Gesamtkunstwerk means a synthesis of multiple art forms such as fine and decorative arts. A building and its architecture was only one part of the concept. The other part is design.
At the core of Bauhaus lies the idea of the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’, a synthesis in which multiple art forms are unified through architecture. A building was not just an empty vessel for the Bauhaus school, it was one element of the total design, and everything inside added to the overall concept.
Materials should reflect the true nature of objects and buildings. Bauhaus architects didn’t hide even brutal and rough materials. Materials should have reflected the true nature of objects and buildings. Therefore school of Bauhaus taught not to modify or hide materials for the sake of aesthetics. The construction of an object or building was not hidden but was made an integral part of the design.
Bauhaus artists favored linear and geometrical forms, avoiding floral or curvilinear shapes. The minimalist style of Bauhaus art, architecture and design reflected these ideas of functionality and honest materials. Influenced by movements such as Modernism and De Stijl, and as a counter-movement to the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles; Bauhaus artists favored linear and geometrical forms, while floral or curvilinear shapes were avoided. Only line, shape and color mattered. Anything else was unnecessary and needed to be reduced.
Emphasizes on technology
Bauhaus workshops were used for developing prototypes of products for mass production. The artists embraced the new possibilities of modern technologies.
Bauhaus is all about new techniques, new materials, new ways of construction, new attitude – all the time. Architects, designers, and artists have to invent something new all the time. Thus Bauhaus influenced the new forms of arts like graphic design which emerged 100 years ago. Bauhaus also led to the emergence of new forms of interior design.