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‘Woman wearing a theatrical mask by Oskar Schlemmer and seated on Marcel Breuer’s B3 chair’ (1926) by Erich Consemüller, Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin

This week, the new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau (Germany) opens to the public, celebrating the work of the teachers and students at the famous art school. For me, this image sums up so much of what the Baushaus was all about.

The catastrophic experiences of First World War motivated the Bauhauslers to radically rethink life, society and the everyday world. Rejecting traditional knowledge, with the Bauhaus they forged a school of design in which people were to develop their artistic creativity by learning with and from materials so that they could give shape to the modern age and meet its many demands. In doing so, the focus was less on the individual work of art than on everyday objects that could be manufactured in collaboration with industry. Out of this emerged the lion’s share of the best-known products and buildings that continue to influence the image of the Bauhaus today, from Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel furniture to Marianne Brandt’s ashtray, from the Stahlhaus (Steel House) to the school’s best-selling product, the Bauhaus wallpaper.