Bauhaus
and its influence
on art and
society today 

Bauhauswas a school that was founded by Walter Gropius. It was a school that taught various disciplines including architecture, art, crafts, and even movement in the form of dance. 

The concept behind the school was to develop a style of contemporary living that would be of influence not only to the local society, but the world as a whole. The bauhaus movement is characterised by economic sensibility, simplicity and focus on mass production to create ideas and products available to everyone.

Today, decades after the founding school has been closed down, and replaced by the Bauhaus university. 100 years after the first school was opened, we continue to see the effects Bauhaus has had and is still having on our surroundings. The main geometrical shapes surrounding the Bauhaus concept, circles, squares and triangles are used almost in every aspect of our lives, the furniture, utensils and cookware in homes are made using these shapes and the architecture too.

Bauhaus promoted constant sense of innovation and encouraged people to be creative and produce unique, quality products. This idea is evident in modern furniture making where furniture is bought in pieces with an instruction manual and the final buyer has to finish putting it together to get the end product, making it a product of teamwork. The iconic Wassily chair is famous for its elegant yet simple design that enables it to be easily reproduced. Today chairs of a similar design are popular household furniture and are easily accessible in furniture shops.

The idea of open spaces was introduced by the Bauhaus founder when he designed and built the first school in Weimar. He wanted to encourage transparency and at the same time bring out a contemporary design, something that has not be done before. The big windows and open spaces were an idea meant to motivate the students and teachers to work freely and with each other. The Seagram sky scraper in New York among other buildings around the world are some of the architectural work designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe a former director of the Bauhaus. Today modern architecture plays around with this concept of large open spaces, large windows, and concrete structures to come up with contemporary buildings that are suited for family homes and office spaces.

Contemporary art is based on the concept of shapes and colours from the bauhaus movement, the bright colours and geometrical shapes are present in most artworks today and has become the foundation of art as a discipline. Kandinsky's modern abstract painting, (yellow, blue, red), brought a great influence on how art was viewed and its modernisation. Photography during the Bauhaus era has significantly been reinvented by way of playing with shadows and light to create perfect images, this concept that is still in use today, and is practiced by modern photographers of art and fashion.

The idea of movement was an important aspect of the learning process during the bauhaus period. Dancing was incorporated into the curriculum, as a way showing the beauty and functionality of everyday living. Over the years dance artists have reanimated the works of Oscar Schlemmer, a Bauhaus teacher and the inventor of the triadic ballet, a performance that brought together all of his idea and performance designs. Today big dance studios still use some of his concepts to enhance movement as a positive influence it the learning process as well as a form of entertainment.

The most admirable thing about Bauhaus is how it is able to stand out and be resilient in its teaching methods and as a result still have an influence on a diversity of cultures without losing its passion today. The influence the school has brought into our society today is something that cannot be overlooked, and has given us endless opportunities to be creative and reinvent ourselves. It is impossible to look into the future without consulting with our past. The bauhaus has been all about innovation, quality and working together. A lesson we are still learning as we celebrate 100 years of the Bauhaus movement.

by Sylvia A.Zajc