The Bauhaus Brand 1919–2019: The Victory of Iconic Form over Use

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The Bauhaus was distinguished neither by function nor by use, but rather by symbolism. Whether the work was Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s lamp, Oskar Schlemmer’s Kopf, or white cubes with flat roofs, the Bauhaus created iconic visual symbols and a style that is neither functional nor social but visually striking. Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, from the outset sought to develop the school into a brand—and he succeeded. More than eight decades after its forced closure, the Bauhaus is more present than ever in consumer life, politics, and culture alike. It has become a participative brand that escapes centralized control entirely, forged collectively by countless designers, manufacturers, and consumers. Yet its founders’ initial pledge for functionality and social commitment remains unfulfilled.

In this stunning and pugnacious book, Philipp Oswalt, former director of Foundation Bauhaus Dessau, explores the development of the Bauhaus brand and its use around the world, illustrated with some 950 images that highlight the vast range of Bauhaus appearances across the past century.

Published by Scheidegger and Spiess in 2020. Paperback, measures 11 x 8 inches, 336 pages. ISBN 9783858818560

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