There is almost no imagining what our lives would look like without the Bauhaus. The exalted German art and design school was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar 1919, surely representing a new way forward to the future, after the devastation of The War to End All Wars. It essentially picked up from Adolf Loos’ creed of “ornament is crime,” reshaping the language of architecture and design forever.
Tellingly, despite admirable resistance, it was shut down by the Nazis in 1933, shortly after moving to Berlin. But surely its most fertile period was 1925 – 1932, during which time it called the Saxon city of Dessau its home. And indeed, during those years the considerable likes of Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Anni and Josef Albers, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy were all counted amongst its teachers. Most notably, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe acted as its final director.
The landmark building that housed the school has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is once again an incubator for experimental design, research and education. But as the centerpiece of the Bauhaus100 centenary this year, on September 8, a new Bauhaus Museum Dessau will open in the center of the city – after two-and-a-half years of effort by Barcelona architects addenda.
There, the considerable collection of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation will be displayed in an overarching exhibition called Versuchsstätte Bauhaus – which will contain more than a thousand sub-exhibits. A monumental undertaking, nearly 50,000 objects in total will be on show, including teaching notes, drafts and prototypes from the workshops, as well as student works…telling the story of a century of revolutionary design.
“Our building is about proportion, positioning and space,” explains addenda’s Roberto Gonzalez, “and shows that, given the right combination of materials, space, colors, etc., you can achieve an outstanding result with limited resources.”
The new building is also true to the original Bauhaus ethos, ending up as a veritable homage to the style.
“If you look at the Bauhaus buildings,” Gonzalez continues, “you see that the members of the Bauhaus already tried to get the maximum benefit from a minimal investment. It was all about flexibility and function – and Gropius was probably thinking the same thing with the [original] Bauhaus building. The result is very Bauhaus.”
A press conference to launch the museum will take place September 7, featuring Gonzalez, along with curators Dorothée Brill, Regina Bittner and Wolfgang Thöner, as well as Claudia Perren, Director and CEO of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.