Vitra Design Museum hosts major Bauhaus retrospective

Vitra Design Museum hosts major Bauhaus retrospective

Work from Bauhaus artists and designers including Walter Gropius, Marianne Brandt and Wassily Kandinsky is on display at the Vitra Design Museum in Germany (+ slideshow).

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Mechanical Ballet, 1923, by Kurt Schmidt with F W Bogler and G Teltscher. New production at Theater der Klänge, 2009. Photograph by O Eltinger

Created as a comprehensive overview of work from the influential German art and design school, the exhibition covers a range of disciplines including design, architecture, art, film and photography.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Book plate from the manifesto and programme of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar, 1919, by Walter Gropius. Image courtesy of Pro Litteris

Founded by Gropius in 1919, the Bauhaus taught Modernist principles across art, architecture, graphic design, interior design and industrial design.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Wassily Chair, 1983, by Alessandro Mendini. Image courtesy of Jürgen Hans, Vitra Design Museum

Subsequent directors included architects Hannes Meyer – from 1928 to 1930 – and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who served until the school closed under pressure from the Nazi government in 1933.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Pipe table and chair, 2009, by Konstantin Grcic. Photography by Florian Böhm

The show, titled The Bauhaus #itsalldesign, is divided into four themed sections, with many of the pieces never having been exhibited before.

The opening part of the exhibition examines the historical context of the Bauhaus, while successive sections examine lesser-known design objects, and the theme of space – with a focus on the different individuals that contributed to the school's design approach.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Design for a multi-media exhibition stand for Regina tooth paste, 1924, by Herbert Bayer. Courtesy of Pro Litteris

A final section examines communication, covering typography as well as experimental film and photography.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Armchair MR 20/3, 1927, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Image courtesy of Pro Litteris

Key pieces on display include Walter Gropius' 1919 manifesto, a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe armchair with U-shaped metal arms, and Josef Albers' 1923 Park stained glass panel.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Park by Josef Albers 1923/24. Courtesy of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Pro Litteris, 2015, ARSN

Historic objects are contrasted by work from contemporary designers influenced by the movement, such as Konstantin Grcic's Pipe table and chair, Opendesk's Edie stool and Front Design's Sketch furniture.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Stars and Stripes, 2015, by MIIRO

Additional pieces were also commissioned for the exhibition by artists Adrian Sauer and Olaf Nicolai, and architects Philipp Oswalt and Joseph Grima – who submitted a digital "docudrama" that follows the ghost of Gropius through the universe of video game Minecraft.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Still from Minecraft: Titan City, 2014, by Colonial Puppet. Part of the exhibition contribution by Joseph Grima, Space Caviar

A recent international competition calling for proposals for a new Bauhaus museum was jointly won by two designs – a long rectangular building with an external structure frame, and a group of colourful conjoined pods.

Bauhaus retrospective at Vitra Design Museum
Lath chair 1922 by Marcel Breuer. Photography by Jürgen Hans Vitra Design Museum, courtesy of Collection Vitra Design Museum

The exhibition opened 26 September 2015 at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, and continues until 28 February 2016.