In 1919 Germany was not in the best of states. It had been defeated in the war, the economy was collapsing and unemployment was so high it seemed that it was just a matter of time before the people would revolt. In the midst of all this Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus school by combining the Weimar Arts academy and the Weimar arts and crafts school. Gropius’ goal was to bring all the arts together under one roof and have them emerge together with a new architecture that would, through mass production, change the quality of the designed object and environment for everyone.

The Bauhaus masters decided on several principals from which the style would emerge. Firstly, that the new architecture was to be created for the workers. This made sense as the majority of the German public belonged to the working class and with the economic lull and general depression were in most need of an increase of quality of life. The next basic premise from which the new style would spring forth was that the new architecture would reject all things bourgeois. These were the basic principles from which the Bauhaus would establish itself.

The school also had several aims, which over many years of various and constant changes remained essentially the same. The first aim was that each of the arts should no longer work individually on specialized projects but should come together and work cooperatively. The next aim was that the status of the design of everyday objects such as teapots and the like should be given greater artistic appreciation and elevated to the same status as the fine arts. Finally, the Bauhaus aimed to achieve independence from the governments influence by maintaining contact with the heads of industry and selling them designs.

Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius and properly known as Das Staatliche Bauhaus, the Bauhaus was an experimental design institute which was formed with the lofty intention of ushering in socially orientated design, where the artist is conscious of his social responsibility to the community, and the community accepts the artist and supports him. Gropius hoped to influence creative minds and apply them to architecture and industrial design, so that they would be able to produce artistically, technically and practically balanced items, and also housing that could help improve the quality of life for the German people in the economic hard times after the First World War.

Often dubbed as the origin of modernism, the institute itself was originally formed by the combination of the Weimar Art Academy and the Weimar Arts and Crafts School Gropius summed up his aims for the school in his Bauhaus Manifesto in 1919 and clarified his point in 1925:

'Bauhaus wishes to serve the actual development of housing, from simple utensils to the complete dwelling house. Convinced of the fact that a house and the utensils have to be in a sensible relation to each other, Bauhaus tries to find the form of every object in its natural functions and presuppositions by systematically experimenting in theory and practice - in forms, in the technical and economic spheres... a subject is defined according to its being. In order that it - a dish, a chair, a house - could be designed in such a mode that it will function well, you have to study its nature to begin with... the study of this nature results when all the modern production means, construction, and material are strictly observed, the result are forms that - differing from the common ones - often feel strange and startling'.

Alongside these aims, was the desire to 'rescue all of the arts from the isolation in which each then found itself'. Gropius gathered artists, architects, and designers around him and gave them the opportunities to learn about the basics of each others crafts, stressing functional craftsmanship in every field, with a concentration on the industrial problems of mechanical mass production. This was primarily enforced through the compulsory Bauhaus curriculum which combined a grounding the theory of design. These lessons consisted of a Preliminary Course, which was essentially an 'investigation of the personality and the creativity of each pupil', and was meant to establish equal pre-conditions of knowledge for the subsequent work, and a course in Composition Theory, covering structure, composition, colour, and use of light, both of which were to be passed before the student was allowed to take on practical training in the educational workshops. These course were designer to remove the students ideas of the limitations of their profession, and the list of teachers who took these courses at the institute reads like a who's who of modernist design and art, and included Josef Albers, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Mies van der Rohe, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer.

The Bauhaus workshops were the birthplaces of new industrial designs, with new materials and procedures being developed all the time. The use of stainless steel, plastics, concrete and glass abounded in the pieces that the workshops were producing. The Bauhaus style became characterised by a certain economy of method, a severe geometry of form, and design that took into account the nature of the revolutionary materials employed. Public awareness of the movement was raised with the publication of the series of 'Bahausbücher', which covered the latest and greatest design and artwork to come out of Dessau

This combination of revolutionary theory, backed up with some of the leading lights of the new design world, and the led to the creation of some of the . Many popular pieces of current designer furniture, such as the Barcelona Chair, and the MR Armchair, were originally designed over 80 years ago at the Bauhaus.

Life at the Bauhaus was not all plain sailing however, and there were many differences of opinion between the teaching staff. One of the early casualties was Johannes Itten, who had developed many of the ideas dealing with colour that were included in the Preliminary Course, to be replaced by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Barely two years after the foundation of the institute, there was a public backlash at the alleged dehumanisation of design that took place at the Bauhaus, which came close to sinking the fledgling movement as the local government almost removed its funding. Four years later in 1925 this threat became a reality, when the election of a new more middle-class government in the region cut all funding from the school as a 'precautionary measure'. The Bauhaus cheated death once again when they founded the 'Circle of Friends of the Bauhaus' to provide funding to stay open whilst an alternate location was found.

The Bauhaus eventually gained support from Dessau near Berlin, and moved to purpose built studios, designed by Gropius, which opened on December 4 1926. The Bauhaus GmbH was formed, and the school started selling its designs itself in an attempt to sustain itself. This radical change in the schools ethos was surpassed two years later, when the founder of the movement, Walter Gropius, left, as did Moholy-Nagy. Gropius suggested he should be replaced as Director by Hannes Meyer, who agreed to take over the reins.

Meyer advocated a more scientific approach in the work and classes, and criticised the Institutes previous work as being too formal. The aesthetic criteria for work was removed and more designs were sold, but political activism amongst the students was on the rise and Meyer, accused for of harbouring communists, is dismissed by the city of Dessau. Following a recommendation by Gropius, the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is appointed director in April 1930.

Mies van der Rohe oversaw the end of the Bauhaus experiment. Funding was drastically cut, and the design school had to cut back on its lessons and workshops, despite his apolitical directorship. As if sensing that the glory days were over, Paul Klee left in 1931, and a year later all funding for the school was cut. The end came when the school was raided and 32 students were arrested. Mies van der Rohe decides to continue the school as a private institute in Berlin, but only has 14 students and is funded purely by royalties from previous designs. Despite a valiant effort the Bauhaus had its doors closed permanently by the Nazi's on 11th April, 1933.

Walter Gropius' dream has not been forgotten, and many of his ideas had already taken root in America where he ended up teaching after the closure of the Bauhaus, and where Moholy-Nagy founded the Chicago Institute of Design. More recently an archive and museum of the Bauhaus were founded in Darmstadt in 1960, before being moved to Berlin, and in the late 1980's The Bauhaus Dassau Institute was opened in the old buildings in Dassau, which was now a polluted industrial suburb of Berlin, which concentrates on art and technology from the ecological angle.

The Bauhaus was the most important school of architecture, design, and art of the 20th century. Its legacy on industrial design can still be felt today, with its purist emphasis on straight edges and smooth, slim forms, combined with the lack of extraneous adornment and willingness to use of modern materials being reflect in everything from the sleek lines of the Audi TT to the Starck lemon squeezer, with many of the original designs still looking as fresh and modern today as they did then.

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Bauhaus formed in 1979 at Northampton, England, under the name Bauhaus 1919 (to mark the date of the formation of the Bauhaus school of art). The line-up at that time was: Peter Murphy (vocals), Daniel Ash (guitar), David Jay (bass) and Kevin Haskins (drums). Later in 1979 they released "Bela Legosi's Dead" which was the first of Bauhaus' amazing singles.

Bauhaus released their first album "In the Flat Field" in 1980, which went to number 1 on independent charts, and number 72 on the pop charts.

Their next album "Mask" was even more of a hit, reaching number 30 on U.K. charts.

Their third album "The Sky's Gone Out" reached number 4 on the charts, propelled by a single released not long before that consisted of a cover of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust."

It's amazing that such a dark band would have such a high chart placing, and their last album went even further up the charts. "Burning From the Inside" had more contributions from Daniel Ash and David Jay, because Peter Murphy had pneumonia at the beginning of the sessions. "Burning..." went to number 13. But only a few months after its release Bauhaus split up.

From 1998 to 1999 Bauhaus went on a reunion tour, releasing a live album in the process, as well as causing Bauhaus fans to orgasm and line-up for days to get tickets. For the next 10 years (1998-2008), they toured sporadically, mostly playing American festivals, before releasing their final album, "Go Away White," and then breaking up once again.

Albums Discography

(A note: The best collection of Bauhaus material is Crackle (1998); very good for new fans.)

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