The Bauhaus is dead
(and you killed it)
This April, the world’s most famous German school of crafts, design, art and architecture, the Bauhaus, celebrates its 100th anniversary. It has been announced with great fanfare throughout Europe, seeking to recall the principles and events that led Walter Gropius, along with other architects and artists, to start this movement in 1919, based in Weimar.
In the years following World War I, Berlin, Germany, and all of Europe had been reduced to dust, and the process of economic and social recovery was beginning from the ashes. The need for rapid and affordable reconstruction led the newly founded Bauhaus – “State Building House”, literally – to experiment with relatively prefabricated production materials, such as steel and glass, which had hitherto been denied the industrial field.
After these demonized ideals fell and their oppressors achieved their goal, World War II broke out, and the glances that had raised this movement once again saw Europe as a ruined field to rebuild. The spirit that led to the founding of the German school saw the light of day again, did it not?
From when you betrayed the Bauhaus in the dentist’s waiting room
The values that led to the founding of the Bauhaus spoke of economy, utility and efficiency, with coherent designs and prices that sought to ensure that reconstruction did not focus on the wealthy classes, but rather that it was a revolution at all levels of society.
The names of Marcel Breuer, Mies Van der Rohe, Paul Klee or Walter Gropious – so to speak – signed projects, posters, furniture… Design, art and architecture that remains practically intact to this day, with the exception that they have now become luxury objects, private museums with even more exclusive prices, or designs with exclusive copyrights.
Breuer’s famous Wassily chair has become an object that we can buy in Amazon for around 300€; the entrance to the German Pavilion of Mies in Barcelona costs around 5€; something less economical, the imitated Nesting Tables of Albers, which would come out in its original edition for around 1500€. Literally, when you enter the official Bauhaus website, –do the test– automatically links us to the online store so we can see endless products at exorbitant prices.
They are just a few examples of a Bauhaus that has lost the north, in which objects, designs, projects, images … Its spirit has been transformed into an object of luxury, worthy of being exhibited. The exclusion of the values that led to their creation has deprived them of any entity: neither function, nor economy, only aesthetics. Now the Bauhaus is certainly dead. The bourgeois class that Gropius wanted to avoid in a new Europe has taken control of the weapon that was created for it.
The unbreakable designs produced in the German school between 1919 and 1936 have lasted 100 years, but it is time to put them into doubt, to let museums, private entities and millionaires with smiles and wide wallets fagociten, and to understand that, perhaps, they do not adapt to the current way of life, to our comfort or clothing. Perhaps they have become objects of exhibition that only the profane acquire, for waiting rooms of dentist or of some office without many lights. The furniture and architecture of the Bauhaus have moved to an unspecified moment in history: they are not contemporary, “moderns” do not call them vintage, and professors do not call them classics. They only exist, waiting for someone to pay for them, their design, their signature, but not to mention their ideals!
The result is not timeless designs, pure forms or materials at full capacity, it is a work of taxidermy. Architectures and furniture dissected in time. We don’t want Bauhaus anymore.