Founded in Weimar in 1919, the Bauhaus design school has since conquered the world and influenced anything from IKEA furniture to Apple products. Its centenary in 2019 is the perfect occasion to explore the places where modern design took root.
Where the Bauhaus was born
Weimar’s new home of all things Bauhaus, the Bauhaus-Museum Weimar, opened in April 2019. It showcases the world’s oldest Bauhaus collection started by Walter Gropius in 1920 in an interactive, multimedia set-up. Expect iconic objects such as Marcel Breuer’s chairs or the Wagenfeld lamp and a stunning, contemporary building at the heart of Weimar new modernism quarter. More relevant sites in Weimar are the world’s first residential Bauhaus building “Haus Am Horn”, which re-opened in May 2019 after extensive renovation, and “Haus Hohe Pappeln“, the private home of Modernist icon Henry van de Velde who prepared the ground for the ideas of the Bauhaus school.
To continue on the Bauhaus trail in Thuringia, head for Apolda and Gera to see a variety of Bauhaus era architecture. In Dornburg where the only Bauhaus workshop outside Weimar was founded in 1920, there are still ceramics masters at work at the Dornburg Pottery Workhop and in Probsztella, visitors are invited to stay in the Bauhaus hotel “Haus des Volkes”, a unique testament to pure Bauhaus style including interior design, furnishing and colours.
Bauhaus and Modernism in Saxony
A lot of the groundwork for the Bauhaus movement was laid in Saxony where renowned architects of the so-called “Neues Bauen” (New Building), a style of avantgarde architecture that originated in Germany in the 1920s, left their mark. Germany’s first garden city “Hellerau” (1909) in the northern part of Dresden was rooted in the “Deutsche Werkstätten für Handwerkskunst“ (German Workshops for Craftmanship) who were also co-founders of “Deutscher Werkbund” (German Association of Craftsmen) .
Architecture and design lovers will also find numerous icons of Classic Modernism throughout the region, such as Josef Albers’ large-scale glass window in Leipzig’s Grassi Museum, the “Versöhnungskirche” (Church of Reconciliation) in Leipzig and the Schocken department store in Chemnitz, which today houses a museum for archaeology. It is one of many private and public Modernist buildings to be found in Chemnitz, also known as the “City of Modernity”. Not to be missed: Villa Esche, designed by Henry van de Welde at the beginning of the 20th century and widely considered a masterpiece of modern architecture. Last but not least, venture out to the small town of Löbau in eastern Saxony for “Haus Schminke”, an internationally renowned example of the “Neues Bauen” style. Completely renovated for 2019’s Bauhaus centenary, it is strikingly modern and testament to the innovative spirit sweeping the creative world in the early 20th century.