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1923 German Bauhaus Gallery Poster
1923 German Bauhaus Gallery Poster
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The Bauhaus, an architectural school founded by Walter Gropius in 1918, introduced a design principal that would dominate architecture and interior design for the rest of the century: form follows function.  The original Bauhaus aimed to create decent housing for the post-WWI German worker.  Emanating from the Arts and Crafts movement, Bauhaus immerged as a post war design style that favored simplicity. However, unlike Arts and Crafts, Bauhaus embraced technology, new materials and the mass production of furnishings and fixtures.

Gropius and his followers created classical forms without extraneous ornament.  They stressed the search for solutions to contemporary design problems in areas like urban planning, housing and utilitarian mass production methods. The Bauhaus school also offered courses in music, drama and particularly painting.  Thus the Bauhaus was rooted in the Arts and Crafts movement but with vision firmly set on the requirements and opportunities of its day.

The Bauhaus principles quickly caught on in the international design community, becoming strongly influential in architectural design. Bauhaus buildings, with its various workshops, studio, school and administrative offices, firmly established the principles of the International Style, an expression of the machine age as the Europeans of the 1920’s wished to see it. The floor plan was designed as a series of cells, each with a specific function, becoming a direct expression, in glass, steel, and thin concrete, of the use of the building (that is, the function – hence form follows function).

The feel of a Bauhaus interior is contemporary and modern. Plain white walls with no moldings and narrow baseboards are de rigueur.  Window frames should be simple.  Huge picture windows, even walls of glass, are emblematic of this style.  The floor plan should be as open as possible, and the space divided with modular furniture, low cabinets or bookcases or perhaps a partial wall made of glass bricks.  

Elements of Style:

Colors: Walls are treated as background incorporating sparse tones of black, white, brown, gray, beige, and chrome. Bursts of color are used as accent and accessories, primary colors often adding the splash of red, yellow or blue that livens the austere modern interior.

Fine Art Print Specials

Melancholie 1948
Melancholie 1948
Gilles, (Werner Bauhaus)
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Bauhaus, 1965
Bauhaus, 1965
Kandinsky, Wassily
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Walls: Walls are simple, with out moldings or embellishment; painted white or neutral tones. The use of glass as walls becomes an important innovation in Modern Style, largely due to the advent of new material use, like steel, in construction. Glass bricks are installed, often in combination with raw concrete - for that Le Corbusier touch. Contemporary art, such as Abstract Expressionism and Pop art add life and organic interest to the clean angularity of modern design.

Floors: Natural elements become the mainstay. Wood, stone, brick, and  cork compliment the open, airiness of modern interiors, adding just the right amount of natural organics to compliment the concrete and glass structure. Abstract patterned rugs, such as kilim rugs, help soften the linearity and add character to the modern interior.

Windows: Plain white curtains or Venetian blinds allow light to enter the interior without detracting from the open, uncluttered spaces. Or for a daringly modern look, no window coverings at all!

Accents: This is the place for color and organic forms and textures. Modern art, particularly in Mondrian-style primary colors, and geometric, black and white.  Throw pillows can be exiting influences, covered in primary colors or interesting fabric patterns. Curved glass ashtrays, translucent or colored art glass, and mobiles continue the contemporary feel by implying light and airiness. Natural objects and materials like twig arrangements, bamboo, sisal or coir balance industrial design.  Period style can also be used for accessories:  Art Deco style for the thirties; kitsch for the fifties; Pop Art for the sixties.




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