2009 - An Anniversary Year
flickr /Artwork: designslinger]
There are two major anniversary celebrations happening this year that honor two very
major events in the design world. First, there is Daniel Burnham and his 1909 Plan of Chicago, a revolutionary work that we mentioned a few months ago. Second, is the founding, in 1919, of one of the most influential schools of design of the 20th century: the Bauhaus.
I can't think of another institution that gathered together a more diversely talented group
of individuals in one place at one time. It becomes very apparent when you look at the category list I had to create for the post. If they could see it, touch it, wear it, sit in it, live in it, act in it - they designed it. The roster of instructors that passed through this institution is like reading a Who's Who of modern 20th century design and art. Walter Gropius, was the founder and first Director, followed by Mies van der Rohe, in 1929. The faculty included, Josef Albers, Marcel Breuer, Lyonel Feininger, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Adolf Meyer, and Lazslo Moholy-Nagy. Some of these names may ring a bell, many may not, so you have to believe me when I tell you that these men were innovators in the fields of art, architecture, interior design, urban planning, graphic design, product design.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, that spelled the end of Bauhaus in Germany.
Gropius had left the school before then in 1928, and ended up becoming the Chair of the School of Architecture at Harvard in 1938, bringing Marcel Breuer along with him. Mies came to the U.S. in 1938 as well, and became the Director of Architecture at Chicago's Armour Institute in 1940. The school was renamed the Illinois Institute of Technology and Mies remained Director of the College of Architecture until his death in 1969. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy also ended up in Chicago, and founded the Institute of Design which eventually joined the architecture program at IIT. Ludwig Hilberseimer joined Mies on the architecture faculty and became a pioneering urban planner. And, Bauhaus came back, and is up and running in a unified Germany.
So, Happy Anniversary. It's nice to see that the school is still around to celebrate, and that
we have some incredible art, architecture and design that we can still see, touch, live and work in, after all these years.
flickr; Door handle, NathanBushDesigns via flickr /Artwork: designslinger]