Even almost one hundred years after its creation Bauhaus enjoys a consistently high appreciation. The reason might not only be the fact that Bauhaus was able to win the leading artists, designers and architects of its time as teachers. It can be explained in the orientation of the movement: Bauhaus was a radical modernization of life. As one of the most famous art and design schools, whose students and teachers have recorded the dynamics of their time and displayed as avant-garde form language to the world. The creation of the art school in 1919 in Weimar can temporally and geographically be connected with the beginning of the Weimar Republic, whose constituent meeting was held at the same place. Furthermore, the endpoints of Bauhaus and the Republic happened in the same year: in 1933, the spirit of time had changed radically and the politics of the Nazis sealed the forced dissolution of Bauhaus. From artisanal spirit of the arts and crafts movement to industrial production The founding director and architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969) pleaded passionately for the "creation of the future" by architects and artists in his manifesto. The artists and theorists of Bauhaus, including Max Bill, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, were convinced of the need for a social and aesthetic transformation of society. The reforming impulse also included supplying the population with good designs, and that could be done effectively only through industrial production. Therefore a strange situation developed, where artists who came from the area of the arts and crafts movement with the romanticizing of craft, consistently developed products for future industrial production.
Founder of Bauhaus Not only the expressionism, but also the theories and works of the Dutch De Stijl movement, involving Piet Mondrian and Theo von Doesburg, were one of the conditions of the early days. The influences of Russian constructivists such as El Lissitzky were equally formative. The new Bauhaus building, obtained in Dessau in 1925, could not deny its affinity with functionalism. The world-famous semiotic rectangular building by Walter Gropius was later on often wrongly blamed for the harshness of urban planning after World War Two. Workshops and ateliers, administration and auditorium, sports and stage rooms were combined in a single building. One was able to look at the workshops, in which many of the designs emerged and which are still being valued as of today, due to the differentiated physicality and the transparent facades. In the field of lighting design, Bauhaus developed a reputation with its abstract designs and clear language of form. The lights that were developed in the metal workshop were especially designed with intend for industrial production, since this was the only way to impact social and aesthetic changes. The icons of the metal workshop During the most productive phase of the workshop László
Moholy-Nagy was the workshop leader, and the silversmith Christian Dell acted as foreman. The dealing with the theme light that actually had nothing to do in a silversmith's workshop indicated a reorientation of the workshop. Moholy got the students excited about lighting designs made of glass and brass, but also for the about then new Plexiglas and other materials from industrial manufacturing. The famous Bauhaus lamp can be dated back to this time. It is the lamp ME1 developed by Wilhelm Wagenfeld and Karl Jacob Jucker in 1924, which sometimes is being sold under the name Wagenfeld lamp. The cut opal glass sphere as screen, the cylindrical glass stand with a metal core and the disc-shaped glass base show evidence of purity, simplicity, and a convincing form making gift. This lamp is an icon of Bauhaus design. It was developed in two versions: with metal shaft and foot or glass shaft and foot. At that time it was produced by Bauhaus GmbH. As of today it is not entirely clear who was responsible for the design, but it can be assumed that in the workshop, which consisted of barely ten job sites, community development and testing was common. The Swiss artist Johannes Itten, the predecessor of Moholy, was already known to base his designs on simple geometric forms. It was assumed that it was easier for a future industrial production, if the designs would be restricted to spheres and cylinders.
However, closer inspection of the early exhibits clearly reveals the traces of the artisanal processing: hammered surfaces caused by metal friction are evidence of the pre-industrial creation processes. Today this reduced Canon seems like the compositional nucleus of Bauhaus design, even though the causes might be suspected somewhere else. The only woman in the metal workshop was one of the most talented and commercially most successful students of Bauhaus: Marianne Brandt.
She developed one of the first marketable night stand lamps with the Kandem table lamp (1927) in her third year as a student. A wedge-shaped, lacquered metal foot builds the base for a screen that is reduced to simple volumes. In addition to the formal quality, glare-free light, the pressure switch, which can be easily operated even when half-asleep, is one of the practical arguments for the lamp. At the end of the 1920s the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer took over as leader of Bauhaus. He intensified cooperation with the industry, because his motto was: "People need practical things instead of luxury". But only two years later, in 1939, management changed again, and from then on Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, another architect, was responsible for the history of the last three years of Bauhaus. The WA24
is also known under the name Bauhaus lamp. It was designed in 1924 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Electoral successes of the Nazi party in Dessau in 1932 forced a move to Berlin, and a year later, when the conditions deteriorated there as well, Bauhaus was forced to close altogether. Many of the teachers emigrated to the United States, spread the ideas of the school in the new country and thus laid the foundations for the international success of this unusual institution. The former head of the metal workshop, Moholy-Nagy, became a successful stage designer and filmmaker and was in charge of the new Bauhaus in Chicago since 1937.