Marcel Breuer, Collage „ein bauhaus-film“
in: bauhaus. zeitschrift für gestaltung, Nr. 1, 1926
MP Ranjan, Bamboo Cube, n.d.
NID, FID storage + KMC Prototype.
Unknown Photographer, Photo of a Chinese woman
with tubular steel chair, ca. 1930s–40s
China Design Museum of CAA, Hangzhou.
Schweizer Staedtebauer bei den Sowjets, magazine cover
Hans Schmidt Estate, gta Archiv / eth Zürich.
Construyamos escuelas, 1947, magazine cover
Hannes Meyer Estate, Archiv der Moderne, Weimar.
Miguel Lawner, Esquema de relaciones – esquema de circulación
published in: Edificación (1940), Miguel Lawner Archive.
Shanghai urban planning and design institute, The Explanatory Drawing
of "urban plan" made by Shanghai Urban Planning Commission Secretariat,
1940s, Private collection.
Konrad Püschel, Site plan of Hamhung, 1956
Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau.
University of Ife in Ile-Ife, Nigeria
by architects Arieh Sharon and Eldar Sharon
Arieh Sharon digital archive.
Lotte Stam-Beese, Studies for the region Rotterdam-Capelle aan den Ijssel
Het Nieuwe Instituut, © Ariane Stam.
Marcel Breuer’s collage, published in the magazine bauhaus. zeitschrift für gestaltung in 1926, propels the design of the chair into an unknown future. The Bauhaus philosophy was to invent and put into practice solutions based on progress, and, according to Breuer, adapt to a quickly changing environment. The edition Moving Away investigates how ideas about design inspired by the Bauhaus, in relation to individuals as well as the collective needs of society, evolved throughout the twentieth century. It traces Bauhaus ideas about design and architecture as they were translated, developed, adapted and renewed, including in the Soviet Union, China, Chile, India, North Korea, Hungary and Nigeria.
In each place, the design function was altered by the needs of a particular society and driven towards different ends. Moving Away explores the relationship between Bauhaus architects and the Soviet Union, part of a broader engagement by an international avant-garde, inspired by its revolutionary ideology or attracted by large-scale commissions. During the rule of Stalin, a second wave of migration of former Bauhauslers from the USSR to Latin America and Eastern Europe took place (Hungary, Mexico, Chile and later the German Democratic Republic (GDR)) where former Bauhaus architects resettled. In post-independence India, partly through an interaction with the Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm), Bauhaus ideas can be traced in the curriculum of India’s National School of Design (NID) and the Industrial Design Centre (IDC). In the subcontinent, design was promoted through government policy and five-year plans. It was utilized as a development tool and catalyst for economic growth, intended to serve the needs of a non-affluent, mostly rural population, with designers often working with traditions and technical know-how built up over millennia. Through these and other examples, including a Bauhaus design reception in China, Moving Away questions the universal application of design solutions, but more importantly pinpoints its ideological implications as well as its relation to the politics of governmentality.
Through this historical lens, Moving Away enables a critical reflection on design today in a globalized world, both as a tool for the state and for economic forces, as well as for grassroots interventions into social processes.