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Bauhaus interior design. How Bauhaus influenced the interior design on the example of the industrial and minimalistic style

Story in By Magdalena Szydło, Posted July 8, 2022


Recently, we have covered Scandinavian design. This is time to revisit the topic and see what inspires designers when it comes to creating a unique interior. It’s worth recalling the Scandinavian style in this post as well because it was born around 1914 and originates from the Danish style of arts and crafts. There were many similar movements during that time, for example, the Dutch De Stijl or a German Jugendstil (German name for art Nouveau) that transformed into modernism.

In the age of modernism, several movements were born and Bauhaus was one of them. Over 100 years ago, the school of art and design called Bauhaus was established in Weimar, Germany. Even though Bauhaus existed only for 14 years, its idea spreaded to the entire world and has left an imprint on many interiors. Here is how it’s still present in industrial and minimalistic design styles. The most important names associated with Bauhaus are Walter Gropius (the founder), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (an architect), Henry van de Velde. Its manifesto was established in 1925, and it included not only architecture-related matters but also touched on social subjects. The Bauhaus aesthetics is still alive because its elements are present in other interior design styles, such as the minimalistic and industrial styles that are very popular in interiors nowadays. Many solutions that came from the Bauhaus manifesto can be found in the present interior or exterior concepts. Some of them can be seen in Viscato realizations.

What was Bauhaus

Even though the school founders kept denying the existence of the Bauhaus style itself, there are some specific aspects that were unprecedentedly discovered by associated designers. At the time, when the school was established, its aim was to face a few challenges related to rapid technological progress and massive production development. First, they intended to bring the applied arts together with fine arts. It was also crucial for Bauhaus to systematize the work’s principles. As Bauhaus consisted not only of architects but also artists, and carpenters, it was important to do the projects collectively. Furthermore, the name, Bauhaus, was linked to Bauhütte – the term that stood for the workshop assembling craftsmen from different industry fields. The manifesto said they want the professionals from different fields to be able to prepare one project, using the knowledge for one common purpose – just like in a middle-aged craft guild. The concept was general then, and the craftsmen had room for their own changes in order to build one, complete project.

The architectural principles

The Bauhaus aimed the simplicity to achieve the harmonic form. The harmony seems to be an important motive here: combining different materials, combining fine arts with applied arts, and combining different majors into one competent team to complete the work.

At Bauhaus, it was determined to use only simple, geometric forms like cone, square, and circle. Regarding materials, they decided to use only glass, leather, steel, and concrete, the ones from the industrial production age. Not only the fabric was the thing that counted, but also the physical properties of each material. It was the link between the industry and crafts. This was a breakthrough in the design to the application of glass and steel in architecture in an unparalleled way. Let’s take the iconic chair by Marcel Breuer that employed steel tubes within the piece of furniture. The forms produced by Bauhaus should meet various requirements – technical, esthetical, and usability. On the other hand, the Bauhaus members were aware of the social issues people at these times may have faced after humans shaped the environment. They claimed that architecture has an important influence on people’s lives. It was said that architecture should adjust to the changing world. It should harmonize with the environment and its specifics. The beginning of the 20th century was the time when people wanted to move to mass production, which was the biggest challenge.

The architecture and daily objects should have been able to meet people’s requirements. The designers should have taken into account the technological achievements of the early 20th century. In the past, household objects, and furniture used to be too particular, too individual. Bauhaus wanted to change this and deprive the objects of their individual character. This way, the object would match each interior. They believed that each piece of furniture gains particular meaning after the way it’s used. This could lead to anonymization and standardization that would eventually make mass production possible.

Form follows function

The first industrial interiors appeared in the 50s. As then a lot of abandoned industrial buildings (former factories, manufactures, production halls) people (especially artists) become more and more interested in renting those, very well located spaces. Yet, the majority of the industrial buildings used to be located in urban surroundings.

Other characteristics of the industrial style are spacious interiors. As I’ve just mentioned, it is because of the nature of manufacturing buildings. The same thing can be associated with Bauhaus projects. The first building, designed by the Bauhaus school, had 6 rooms, however, they were separated by movable walls. Thanks to this solution, it was possible to put 6 pieces into 1 big. If there is only one room, each of the parts should have particular functionality. What comes together with an open space, is the light. The second important element typical for the industrial interior is big windows. As the source of light, so they cannot be covered with any kind of curtains. What goes hand in hand with space, is a high ceiling. This gives freedom of arranging entresol and hence brings another functionality to the space.

Another similarity to Bauhaus principles is the colors – only light ones, like white, beige, and gray. The only additional colors are allowed among the details and the possible colors were yellow, red, and blue, so the basic colors. Those basic colors are present also in Bauhaus-related art (Piet Mondrian’s pieces). Regarding accessories, there are only a few accepted to avoid cluttering space. However, Bauhaus was less liberal on that – they wouldn’t rather accept accessories unless they don’t have any functionality. Form follow functions – it was said, that nonfunctional objects had no reason to exist. This leads to another common for an industrial style’s characteristics – simplicity.

And last but not least, the materials used in the industrial style are metal, steel, brick, and concrete, so the same as in Bauhaus. The pipes were not hidden or covered, and it was done deliberately.

Less is more

Another style that has a lot in common with Bauhaus, is the minimalistic style. It was born around 50 years ago, however, another strong influence is the Japanese aesthetics Wabi-Sabi and the zen philosophy that praises calm and order. Wabi-Sabi claims that beauty is about shaping the void. Decorating an object can ruin its nature. The best way to describe it is to say that less is more. The minimalists pay attention to the quality of the material, the surfaces are smooth, and there are no arcs, angels, concavities, or bends. The furniture is strictly limited, so the functionality counts because the functionality counts like in Bauhaus. They say that beauty is a matter of quality and the object can’t be only beautiful, it has to be functional and harmonious. They are focusing on the object themselves – how is it and what is it made of.

Another common details with Bauhaus are the colors: only the light, rather cold one are allowed, so white, black, blue, and shades of gray. The furniture, as it has to be functional, consists of modules that can be set in many possible ways, which of course make them more functional. The furniture has contrasting colors to the walls. The accessories are not permitted, and all the pieces of equipment should be hidden. There are no carpets, only mats that correspond to the style’s roots, so Japanese culture. The only visible elements should be the ones that are used on regular basis. The paintings on the walls are permitted, but the possible patterns are limited to geometric figures or abstract art. Regarding geometric figures, they should be kept when it comes to lampshades, possibly the lamps can be glass.

Bauhaus’s aesthetics and their postulates for sure stood the test of time. They are spread all around the world and let people create comfortable, functional, and magnificent interiors where they can live their lives. This is the functionality of those objects and spaces that can impress people, not the unnecessary accessories or inharmonious colors.

All pictures come from the Viscato portfolio. They show the solutions adopted from the minimalistic and industrial aesthetics. Don’t hesitate to contact our sales team to order a similar project. You can check out more Viscato works here.

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