#itsalldesign – the Bauhaus exhibition at the Vitra Design Museum

18.09.2015  |  Text Sonja Commentz

Vitra Design Museum, Frank Gehry, 1989 © Vitra Design Museum © Thomas Dix

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The Vitra Design Museum is showcasing an extensive presentation of the Bauhaus design movement for the first time, with the support of Mercedes-Benz.


Wall painting workshop, Bauhaus Dessau, 1926 Bauhaus University Weimar, modernism archive © Photographer unknown

Modern roots

In 1919, Walter Gropius founded the 'State Bauhaus' in Weimar – and in the process took architecture, design, technology and ergonomics in a direction that continues to shape our society to this day. Not only can this school's modernistic understanding of design be seen in everyday objects that we all take for granted – from armchairs to eggcups – it also moulds our perception of design with its clean lines and distinct philosophy to this day. A timelessly modern approach which is perfectly mirrored in the exhibition 'The Bauhaus #itsalldesign': The fundamental principles of form and function will be showcased in the vast spaces of the Vitra Design Museum from September 25th in a series of exhibits, some of which have never been on display before. Within this complex 'laboratory of modernism' and hotbed of creativity, museum curator Jolanthe Kugler brings together Bauhaus pioneers such as Marcel Breuer, Lyonel Feininger, Walter Gropius and Wassily Kandinsky with present-day artists and designers of the likes of Olaf Nicolai, Konstantin Grcic and Hella Jongerius in four thematic groups, ranging from Zeitgeist and living to propaganda. Juxtaposing historical exhibits with contemporary works in this way allows the topic of Bauhaus to be considered from a contemporary perspective that reveals surprising parallels between many of the debates in design from the past and present: new materials and production methods, the role designers play in society and the advantages of interdisciplinary collaborations are all issues that still intrigue designers to this day.


1. Wilhelm Wagenfeld, Carl Jakob Jucker, Table Lamp ME 1 /MT 9, 1923/1924, © VG Bild-Kunst Bonn, 2015, 2. Jerszy Seymour, Workshop Chair, 2009, Vitra Design Museum collection, © Jerszy Seymour Design Workshop, 3. Herbert Bayer, design for a multimedia exhibition stand (for Regina toothpaste), 1924, bequest from Eckhard Neumann, Freese collection, © VG BildKunst Bonn, 2015

Shaping the future: Bauhaus, Vitra Design Museum and Mercedes-Benz

Interviews with creative figures including Lord Norman Foster, Mike Meiré and Boss Womenswear Artistic Director Jason Wu are combined with a range of exhibition pieces such as 'Hartz IV furniture', everyday articles from Muji, as well as automotive design from Mercedes-Benz to highlight the broad spectrum of influence exerted by Bauhaus. This additionally serves to underline the movement's enduring relevance: #itsalldesign, precisely presented here in a setting that emphasises the standard of design aesthetics pursued by both the host venue and the collaboration partner.


Vitra Design Museum, Frank Gehry, 1989 © Vitra Design Museum, photo: Thomas Dix

Fundamental synergies

Not only is Mercedes-Benz represented within the exhibition itself, Mercedes-Benz also supports the exhibition in its role as a global sponsor. 'Bauhaus has always been considered a revolutionary role model in the fields of art, architecture and design. To this day, we perceive the Bauhaus approach as timeless and modern, driven by an incessant yearning to shape the future. It is precisely this concentration on the essential, together with the ongoing quest for innovations, that links our design philosophy with the Bauhaus way of thinking,' explains Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG.


Key visual of the exhibition, Kurt Schmidt with F.W. Bogler and G. Teltscher, 'The Mechanical Ballet', 1923, new production from Theater der Klänge, 2009 © O. Eltinger

Invitation to the vernissage on 25.09.

Anyone wishing to attend the exhibition's opening on Friday, 25 September 2015 from 6 pm can simply write an email to she.mercedes@daimler.com*. The names submitted in the first 80 emails will be added to the guest list. Visitors will be able to watch the opening performance of 'The Mechanical Ballet' (1923) by the two Bauhaus students Kurt Schmidt and Georg Teltscher – a fascinating synthesis of design, music, art and theatre that explores the boundaries between modern music, constructivism, futurism and mechanical theatre.

Vitra Design Museum

Charles-Eames-Str. 2

D-79576 Weil am Rhein


26.09.2015 – 28.02.2016

The exhibition will then move to: April – Aug 2016: Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany)

*Wir werden die zur Teilnahme an der Vernissage überlassenen Daten vertraulich behandeln und nur im Einklang mit den datenschutzrechtlichen Bestimmungen nutzen. Die durch uns erhoben Daten werden ausschließlich zum Zwecke der Veranstaltung verarbeitet, genutzt und anschließend wieder gelöscht.

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