#Itsalldesign – the legacy of the bauhaus on show at Vitra Museum


Beginning September 29, 2015 the exhibition The bauhaus #itsalldesign is on view at the Vitra Design Museum, part of the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, near Basel.

cover image: Marianne Brandt, Student on one of the atelier balconies, Bauhaus Dessau, around 1928/1929, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2015.

The exhibition is an event not to be missed by every curious person who wants to understand what the bauhaus was, as well as to learn in what historical, cultural and technological context, modern design and its protagonists developed.
Also, The bauhaus #itsalldesign demonstrates that many aspects of contemporary design – the social responsibility of designers, the interdisciplinary approach required to develop an effective product, the quest for new materials and innovative manufacturing processes, the awareness of the consequence of good (and bad) design in people’s everyday life – are essentially the same as those introduced by the bauhaus 90 years ago.


Walter Gropius (Text), manifesto and programme of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar, 1919, book plate, private estate © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2015.

Perhaps, the most important among the many “legacies” left by the bauhaus is how it put people at the center of design. Indeed, people were considered the fundamental reference for bauhaus’ designers – aware of the impact their work could contribute to improve the life of many. At the same time designers become protagonists of the productive process; even capable to manage by themselves the manufacturing of products. A learning-through-doing approach that can be considered the ancestor of today’s “maker culture”.



above: Mural workshop, Bauhaus Dessau, 1926, (photographer unknown) Bauhaus-Universität. Weimar, Archiv der Moderne.
below:Marcel Breuer, lounge chair B 3 (known as Wassily Chair), 1925, Collection Vitra Design Museum, photo: © Vitra Design Museum, Jürgen Hans.

The exhibition, divided into 4 thematic sections, focuses on the role of the bauhaus as the workshop of modernity.
The first section depicts the historical and social context of the bauhaus; the second showcases both iconic and lesser-known projects, from art, to craft, to industrial products. A section is dedicated to spatial design, from theoretical essays to architectural projects. The last section is dedicated to the bauhaus’ innovation in communication, from graphic design to avant-garde cinematography, to photography.




above: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, arm chair MR 20/3, 1927, Collection Vitra Design Museum, © VG Bild-Kunst. Bonn, 2015.
center: Adrian Sauer, »Raum für Alle«, 2015, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2015.
below: Josef Albers, Park, c. 1923/24, The Josef and Anni. Albers Foundation, © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2015 / ARSN.

A comparison between past and present is developed through the exhibition of historical pieces alongside with works by present-day artists. Bauhaus’ artists represented include Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius, and Wassily Kandinsky, just to name a few. Contemporary artists on show include Olaf Nicolai, Adrian Sauer, Enzo Mari, Norman Foster, Opendesk,  Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jongerius, Alberto Meda, and Jerszy Seymour, among many others.




above left: Marcel Breuer, lath chair, ti 1a, 1922, Collection Vitra Design Museum, photo: © Vitra Design Museum, Jürgen Hans.
above right: Enzo Mari, Proposta per un’autoprogettazione, 1973, Collection Vitra Design Museum, photo: Andreas Sütterlin.
center left: Hannes Meyer, Co-op room, Basel, 1926, © ArchivETH Zürich
center right:AYRBRB, Home ’14: Pavilion, based on Hannes Meyer’s Co-Op room, 2014, © AYRBRB.
below left: Opendesk, Edie stool, Design: David and Joni Steiner, 2013, Collection Vitra Design Museum.
below right: Studio Minale Maeda, Keytones table (first prototype), 2014, Collection Vitra Design Museum.

The Bauhaus #itsalldesign
temporary exhibition | 26.09.2015 – 28.02.2016
Vitra Design Museum – Campus Vitra
Weil am Rhein – Germany

All images courtsy of Vitra Design Museum

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