The Bauhaus#itsalldesign at the ADAM in Brussels

The Art & Design Atomium Museum, the ADAM, in Brussels is currently hosting 'The Bauhaus#itsalldesign', a fascinating exhibition on the Bauhaus, the German school of design that had such an important impact on design during the last century.

Established in 1919 the Bauhaus design school in Weimar (Germany) set as its aim to search for the best ways to shape industrial culture. Headed by Walter Gropius this institution led the way in creating a new world after the horror of the trenches and the realisation that industrialisation would not make us all happier. Its aim was to educate a new type of designer. The Bauhaus represented a brief period of frenetic activity in industrial design that foundered as the politics of the far right took hold in Germany where the Nazi party eventually determined all aspects of society. The school closed in Weimar in 1925. Reopened in the industrial town of Dessel it was closed for good in 1932 despite efforts by Mies van der Rohe to breathe new life into the organisation in Berlin.

'The Bauhaus#itsalldesign' is an exhibition created by the Vitra Design Museum that has earlier been seen in Weimar, Bonn and Tel Aviv. It provides a complete overview of design during the Bauhaus period, roughly from 1919 till 1932. It shows rare pieces and in some cases items that have never been exhibited before, all from the fields of design, architecture, art, film and photography. Bauhaus artists and designers featured in the exhibition include Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Breuer, Marianne Brandt and Lyonel Feininger in a bid to present the present day relevance of a legendary cultural institution.

ADAM's Inge Van Eycken: “This is also an exhibition that puts critical questions and using many original pieces shows who underwent the influence of the Bauhaus. We present wallpaper, children's toys, how the Bauhaus designed products for everybody, but the exhibition also includes several very rare and valuable items. Some pieces are truly magnificent, but like some of the reading lamps in the exhibition not always very handy to use.”

The exhibition also confronts the design of the Bauhaus with works by contemporary designers, architects and artists. Contemporary artists represented include Olaf Nicolai, Adrian Sauer, Enzo Mari, Norman Foster, Opendesk, Konstantin Grcic, Hella Jonerius, Alberto Meda and Jerszy Seymour. Throughout the exhibition historical exhibits from the Bauhaus era are confronted with works by contemporary designers revealing the broad influence that the Bauhaus has had on a wide variety of contemporary designers.

ADAM's Inge Van Eycken: “The exhibition focuses on four themes: a first section looks at the historical and social context of the Bauhaus, a second section highlights several iconic Bauhaus products, but also a couple of items people will not be so familiar with. Space is explored in the third section that shows that many different designers were involved, the final section looks at Bauhaus communication. The Bauhaus was very good at marketing itself and artists and designers not immediately involved, like Paul Klee, also produced work and published under the Bauhaus label.”

The exhibition 'The Bauhaus#itsalldesign' runs at the ADAM at the Heizel in Brussels until 11 June 2017.