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Were the seeds of human-centered design being planted by the Bauhaus movement 100 years ago?


I was wondering about this while reading the article by Rowan Moore in the Guardian this morning: Bauhaus at 100: the revolutionary movement’s enduring appeal.

‘The Bauhaus, simply put, was a German school of art and design that opened in 1919 and closed in 1933. It was also very much more than that. It was the most influential and famous design school that has ever existed. It defined an epoch. It became the pre-eminent emblem of modern architecture and design. … It is coming up for the centenary of its founding, which shows both that what was called the “modern movement” is now part of history and that its influence is very much still around us.’

Architect and artists offer some brief testimonies in the article about the influence that the Bauhaus movement has had on their work. The testimonies are all interesting, but the one by architect Daniel Libeskind (My professor was Bauhaus-taught, so I had the real thing), has a paragraph that is quite illuminating and made me think about the question I pose the title:

‘Bauhaus, at its core, is about understanding the world and its wonder. It’s the fact that everything to do with design – from the small to the large to the horizon – is something beautiful and worthy of the word wonder. I think Bauhaus has a strong ethical and political dimension – it strives for equality. It was only later on that it became minimalist and reductivist in its ideas. The true, original Bauhaus was about the eternal human spirit. I think the Bauhaus has a global impact – in Russia, the United States, Japan – because of what it sought to do – to illuminate the world of design with powerful concepts and the notion of beauty. It was to get rid of the junk, the accretions of time, to clear up the environment and see how it could be designed in a way that was not just functional but created a community.’

What do you think, were the seeds of today’s human-centered design being planted 100 years ago at the Bauhaus Meisterhause?

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