Bauhaus at 100: Discover the legacy in 5 designs
In 2019, the Bauhaus celebrates its 100th anniversary. From Mies van der Rohe to Marcel Breuer, the Bauhaus produced some of the most iconic names in modern design and left a legacy like no other.
Characterised by their functional approach to design, the desire to merge art and industry and a revolutionary use of materials, we take a look at the 5 most iconic pieces of furniture to be produced by the school.
Designer: Marcel Breuer
An early student of the Bauhaus, Hungarian born designer Marcel Breuer attended the school between 1920-24 and went on to become head of the school’s carpentry workshop in 1925.
Known for his pioneering use of bent steel, Breuer’s most well-known furniture designs include the Wassily chair and the Laccio tables.
The first ever chair design to feature a bent steel frame, the curves of the metal frame was inspired by the curved form of a bicycle handlebar.
Named after Breuer’s friend and mentor, Wassily Kandinsky – the Wassily chair is an embodiment of the Bauhaus objective to merge art with industry.
Designed as a companion to the Wassily chair, the Laccio tables also feature tubular steel frames. With simple lines and a rational approach, Breuer’s designs revolutionised modern furniture construction and have inspired generations of designers.
All authentic Breuer pieces come with the designer's signature stamped into the base of the frame.
Designer: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
The third and final director of the Bauhaus, leading the school until it’s closure in 1933 - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is perhaps better known for buildings than the Bauhaus.
Like many of the other leading voices in the school, Mies emigrated to America soon after the Bauhaus’ closure where he continued to explore the school’s ideals, designing many modernist high-rise buildings in the USA.
Perhaps his most well-known piece of architecture, Mies van der Rohe was asked to design the German pavilion for the Spanish exhibition in 1929 in collaboration with architect Lilly Reich. Opening a year before his appointment as Bauhaus director, the iconic Barcelona pavilion has an open plan with minimal planes and was the original home for the equally iconic Barcelona chair.
Designed for the King and Queen of Spain – in case they needed a place to rest during their visit to the exhibition, the Barcelona chair represents the perfect marriage of form and function. With two rectangular cushions atop a minimal stainless-steel frame, the chair has an elegant, timeless appeal.
MR Chaise Longue
Part of Knoll’s MR (Mies van der Rohe) collection, the MR Chaise Longue is characterised by a continuous tubular steel frame and a cantilevered seat. Inspired by Marcel Breuer’s early experiments with bent steel, Mies van der Rohe went on to design a full collection of furniture utilising this technique - helping to define the legacy of modernist furniture design.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, Knoll has released special commemorative editions of the MR collection. With a new choice of premium fabric and leather coverings, each special edition is marked with a commemorative stamp on the structure. Discover more.
Designer: Christian Dell
Trained as a silversmith - from 1922-25, Christian Dell worked as a foreman at the Bauhaus metal workshop, supervising and directing students of the school in metalworking techniques.
Going on to design lamps and eventually open his own jewellery workshop, Dell’s most successful designs include the Kaiser idell lighting series.
Kaiser idell lamp
An embodiment of the ideals of German design, the Kaiser idell series features precise engineering and a carefully chosen palette of materials. With a world-famous swivel joint, the lamps are constructed of steel and brass with a chrome-plated finish.
The term “idell” is a reference to the word idea and the designers last name, Dell.
Not only are these designs icons of the 20th Century - they have inspired generations of designers with their practicality, simple geometries and exquisite beauty.
Get the look for yourself by browsing our curated collection of Bauhaus inspired designs below.