Simplicity, function, cleanliness and impact – these are the underpinning principles that have dictated the character of art, architecture, graphic design and advertising for over half a century. Started in the early 20th century in Germany, the Bauhaus principle was started by a collective of visionary thinkers who fused together the two separate disciplines of art and design and promote harmony between both function and form. At the time, this was revolutionary because these ideas of minimalism, sturdiness and neutrality were completely opposite the heavily ornamentation and elaborate but functionless details of 19th century styles.
Bauhaus inspired products are hugely popular today and the uncluttered sleek feel of the design style gives living environments a spacious, clean and stylish look. In a world where space comes at a premium, more and more people are choosing to stylise their living spaces and apartments with bauhaus style furnishings.
Nothing typifies the characteristics of stripped back necessity other than the iconic cantilever chair. This design mercilessly reduces every single none-value additive of the traditional chair to the point where it serves only the most basic and necessary of functions. The first of these is to support the weight of the user using minimal metal frame tubing.
The task of keeping the user upright and comfortable is ensured by a single cushion and leather back strap. Aside from these two functions the chair is not built to serve any other purpose functionally or aesthetically. Most interesting of all is the fact that the metal tubing that makes up the cantilever chair is used only when necessary – ie. it can support the weight of the user therefore there is no need to use it to reinforce the back. These are great at creating a sense of space in your living area
Nesting tables are an instantly recognisable Bauhaus classic and consist of around four tables all graduating in size which can be stored underneath each other. This design was conceived in the heydays of the Bauhaus school in the late 1920s by esteemed Bauhaus original Josef Albers. The tables themselves are quaint and constructed with two essential parts: the coloured table top surface piece which is then attached to the leg support component which itself is a single continuous piece.
The practicalities of the Nesting table set are evident. Having a sit down coffee needn’t have to be reliant on large bulky coffee tables that dominate the floor space. Instead these nesting tables can be used on an individual basis if there are multiple people sitting on sofas and chairs at different points in the room.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld WA24 table lamp
Bauhaus student turned industrial designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld put his mark on the world with the WA24 table lamp, a simplistic timeless design that has been imitated and copied the world over, and for good reason. In keeping with Bauhaus traditions, the WA24 lamp is stripped back to the bare essentials needed to provide illumination with no superfluous decorations. The oval glass bulb creates an interesting clean beacon-like diffusion of light which is very striking when turned on. Supporting the lamp shade and bulb is a solid tube metal cylinder which is then stabilised using a hefty glass base.
The simplicity of the WA24 is down to structural composition which is heavily inspired by the use of geometric shapes. Interestingly, the lamp was designed to be mass produced from simplistic and inexpensive materials – an economic constraint of the post-war period. Above all the WA24 oozes a classic timeless charm which even after 95 years, still looks forward thinking and fresh.
Simplicity is timeless
Some say that the success and far reaching influence of the Bauhaus was because their approach paid more attention to function and therefore added more user value. This philosophy of logic, sense and efficiency has prevailed over the years and has now become the mantra for the way that many of us choose to live our lives by.
Siemens was incubated at a very similar time and place as the Bauhaus school. Throughout the last century we have stayed true to the fundamentals of pragmatism, efficiency and sustainability whilst always challenging ourselves and improving – just like Bauhaus head Walter Gropius. Our products will continue to become more and more streamlined and user focused in order to meet the challenges of the future.