Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Bauhaus and the New typography


Aldous Huxley stated in 1928, that the machines are here to stay. He said:” Let us then exploit them to create beauty - a modern beauty, while we are about it”. Ideas from all the advanced art and design movements were explored, combined, and applied to problems of functional design, and machine production at a German design school - the Bauhaus. Twentieth century design and graphics were shaped by the work of its faculty and students, and a modern design aesthetic emerged.

Belgian art nouveau architect, Henri van de Velde, who directed the Weimer arts and Crafts School, resigned his position in on the eve of the war in 1914. Thirty-one-year-old Walter Gropius was one if three possible replacement. During the war years the school was closed. By the end of the war Gropius, who had already gained an international reputation for factory designs using glass and steel in new ways, was confirmed as the new director of an institution formed by merging the applied arts-oriented Weimer Arts and Crafts school with a fine arts school, the Weimer Arts Academy. Gropius was permitted to name the new school Das Staatliche Bauhaus (The State home for building). It opened on 12 April 1919, when Germany was in a state of severe ferment.

Recognizing the common roots of both the fine and applied visual arts, Gropius sought a new unity of art and technology as he enlisted a generation of artists in a struggle to solve problems of visual design created by industrialism . It was hoped that the artistically trained designer could “breathe a soul into the dead product of the machine” for Gropius believed that only the most brilliant ideas were good enough to justify multiplication by industry.

Bauhaus was the logical consequence of a German concern for design in industrial society. Deutsche Werkbund worked to elevate standards of design and public taste as it attempted to unify artists and craftsmen with industry to elevate the functional and aesthetic qualities of mass production. Gropius had served a three-year assistantship in Peter Behrens’s architectural office. Behrens’s advocacy of a new objectivity and theories of proportion had an impact on the development of the young Gropius’s thinking along with Henri van de Velde who also had an important influence. During the 1890’s Van de Welde declared the engineer to be the new architect and called for logical design using new technologies and materials of science.

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