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Where did mixer taps and fitted kitchens come from? Angle-poise lamps and strip lighting? The answer is The Bauhaus. This is the story of Germany’s most famous design school, bitterly attacked in its day, but subsequently hugely influential.
The Bauhaus (translated literally as ‘Building House’) was founded in 1919, then closed in 1933 on the orders of the Nationalist government. Its teaching promoted Modernism. Leading modern painters from across Europe were attracted to teach at the Bauhaus and, with practical instruction from local craftsmen too, the students received a thorough grounding in form and colour theory as well as the use of materials. The result of this in-depth teaching was the development of such iconic designs as tubular steel furniture, strip lighting and fitted kitchens, which we now take for granted, yet at the time were cutting-edge.
In the years following the school’s forced closure, many of the teachers and students either fled abroad or were exiled. As a result the Bauhaus had a worldwide impact on art, architecture and design trends.
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