Bauhaus School and its Influence on Mid 20th Century Scandinavian Design
What comes to your mind when you think of Scandinavian design? If you know anything about it, you would immediately think of furniture, carpets, appliances and home accessories with pure forms and simple, clean lines. Scandinavian design is known for its elegance, minimalism, respect for natural materials, and superb craftsmanship. The key to its global popularity is the fine combination of aesthetics and utility.
Modern Scandinavian design has its roots in traditional crafts, but it owes much to the functionalism of the first half of the 20th century. One particular movement, or rather school, that has had the biggest impact on it is Bauhaus. Bauhaus was an art school in Germany that combined fine arts with craft and was famous for its revolutionary approach to design.
The Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius, an architect by profession, in 1919 and closed in 1933 after the rise of the Nazis.
The Bauhaus school was located in:
- Weimar from 1919 to 1925.
- Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933.
The Bauhaus school flourished under the able leadership of three architect-directors:
- Walter Gropius (1919 – 1928)
- Hannes Meyer (1928 – 1930)
- Ludwig Miles van der Rohe (1930 – 1933)
These three men and their students took their knowledge to Scandinavia and other countries after they were forced to flee Nazi Germany. Over the years, they created a body of work that continues to influence today’s design.
Bauhaus became the cornerstone of the modern Scandinavian design movement that emerged in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the 1950s. Scandinavian countries, along with Finland and Iceland, were quick to embrace the design philosophy of Bauhaus and make it their own because the love for local materials and functional forms was already embedded in their culture.
Unlike people in other European countries who longed for a luxurious lifestyle, all that the Scandinavians longed for was a comfortable and cozy home to thwart the harsh weather and long, cold and dark winter.
This imbued them with a sense of practicality that matched perfectly with the teaching of Bauhaus. This is evident in the beautiful yet practical design of modern furniture, carpets and other products made in the Scandinavian countries.
The three most important features of Scandinavian design that emerged in the mid-20th century are: good design, beauty combined with functionality, and optimum use of available resources. Great emphasis is given on simplicity, symmetry and clarity. Thus, furniture, carpet and home accessories from Scandinavian countries always have a homely coziness about them.
When talking about modern Scandinavian design, it is worth mentioning the beautiful carpets that come out of the region. Scandinavia has a long tradition of making handmade carpets. Swedish rugs from the mid-twentieth century are among the most sought after rugs today. They’re uniquely sparse and geometric patterns perfectly reflect the designer’s love for simplicity, clarity and functional forms. This is the essence of Bauhaus thinking.
A Beginner’s Guide to Art Deco and Bauhaus Design
Art Deco is an influential style of art that is thought to have originated in Paris in the early 1920’s. The credit for coining the term goes to Le Corbusier, a renowned French architect of the time, who used it in the title of a journal he wrote in 1925, “Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes” (or “International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts” in English).
Broadly speaking, the term covers all the styles that were developed in various places around the world in the period between the two world wars, such as Art Moderne, Bauhaus and Stijl. All the different styles had one thing in common: they were heavily influenced by the rapid technological advances of the time. This is evident from the geometric lines, influenced by the automobile and other industries, and streamlined curves, influenced by aviation.
The rise of Art Deco and its popularity can be said to be a direct consequence of World War I, which effectively brought an end to the overwrought Victorian age. Before the war, people were more interested in ornate, highly detailed aesthetic styles. The war changed all that. The pace of discoveries and inventions increased dramatically. Both American and European societies grew affluent. The floral motifs and intricate designs of Art Nouveau, the previous artistic movement, gave way to the sleek, bold, curved and geometric lines of Art Deco. Instead of looking to the natural world for inspiration, designers looked to man-made innovations.
Noteworthy artistic movements that comprised Art Deco are Moderne Style, Bauhaus and De Stijl
The Moderne Style was influenced by the streamlined and aerodynamic design of automobiles and airplanes. You can see this in American Art Deco. The style is still as popular as it used to be in those days.
Bauhaus was an art school in Germany that popularized geometric, block style architecture. The school operated from 1919 to 1933, but its teachings continue to influence design today. You can see this in European Art Deco.
De Stilj was a Dutch artistic movement that was heavily influenced by cubism. It emphasized the use of geometric lines (vertical and horizontal lines) and the use of primary colors only. You can see this in the Art Deco of the Netherlands and neighboring countries.
Art Deco also had profound influence on the design of rugs and carpets of the time. Many carpet designers ditched the fanciful, lighthearted and intricate patterns of Art Noveau in favor of bold colors, geometric lines and strong forms. Nazmiyal has an impressive selection of Art Deco carpets, click the link below to view them all!