Breaking Bauhaus Boundaries

While in Berlin we visited the Bauhaus Archive (twice because the first time we went just so happened to be the only day of the week it was closed!), and I found it truly inspirational for my current project.  I have never previously been all that interested in the Bauhaus movement, finding it too much of a clinical dictatorship on the ideals of design with a limited scope for creativity.  However it was the set of rules and guides to abide by that I found compelling while at the archive, and I discovered that because they were set in place, the artists and designers produced by the Bauhaus had a very strong design philosophy.

There were three main factors about the Bauhaus design philosophy that I picked up on.

Firstly the Kandinsky colour theory – I really like the idea of using colour only to invoke a response from the user and not purely for aesthetical reasons.  The idea that if the colour has no purpose for being there then it shouldn’t be there I find really appealing and also reflects the way I work as I feel you shouldn’t need to use colour to show off your design.


Secondly there is the use of the Golden Section in all aspects of Bauhaus design pieces.  I have to be honest and admit that I don’t fully understand the mathematical equation behind the golden section, but I do appreciate how it is used to create focal points in design and believe it is something I could work with on my MA. I also know it dates back to the Ancient Greeks – they do say that the old ones are the best!


Thirdly I find the Bauhaus rules on functionality really important and each rule can be clearly reflected in some of the work produced there.  Although I don’t necessarily agree with all of the key features, I find the theory behind it to be a good template when beginning the basis of my own design philosophy toolkit.

The Bauhaus functionality features are:

  • Abstraction
  • Angularity
  • Consistency
  • Continuity
  • Economy
  • Mono-chromaticity
  • Organisation
  • Regularity
  • Sharpness
  • Simplicity
  • Subtlety
  • Symmetry

Needless to say I found the Bauhaus Archive one of the most influential parts of my trip to Berlin, and I recommend everyone, whether you like or dislike the Bauhaus design style, to take a look at this place if you’re in Berlin.  It definately made me re-think my opinion!

If your German is pretty good (or your computer translates web pages for you) check out the website Bauhaus Archive for more info or follow @BauhausCentre on Twitter to learn more about Bauhaus architecture


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