The Bauhaus Archiv
As a designer, you would think I would get off the plane in Berlin and go straight to the Bauhaus Archiv, but honestly, it took me the better half of a year to actually visit it…no excuse thought.
For those who have not idea of what I’m talking about, Bauhaus was a German art school founded by Walter Gropius in 1919 and it is probably the most famous one, given the impact it had on art, architecture, and interior, industrial and graphic design. Their teachers included the likes of Paul Klee and Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy and Josef Albers, and as epicenter of creativity it was closed by the pressure of the Nazi regime on the false assumptions that in was a center for communist intellectualism.
Even though the building in Dessau is the one that is currently used for teaching, Berlin still has building, built by Walter Gropius himself, that serves as a archiv, museum and library. The museum portion is not too big and can be done in around an hour. It showcases a range of well-known (or some not known at all) photos, furniture and documents created at the school throughout out the years, as well as ever changing exhibitions.
One of my favorite things in there, is a series of pieces that were given to Walter Gropius for his 41th birthday. Lead by Moholy-Nagy, the Bauhaus masters created their own rendition of a photo published on a German newspaper as a gift for the director. The photo itself was of a window with a phonograph facing a large crowd, and what I loved about it it that you can see the different styles and interpretations of the artists but still recognize the initial image.
The Archiv is opened, except Tuesdays, everyday from 10am to 5pm (don’t be like me that I decided to visit it again while writting this and I when there….to find out…it was Tuesday) and the admission ticket is 8 euros. With a deposit or ID card you can ‘rent’ an audio guide to take you through the floor, or if you are a big group maybe you can organize a guided tour with some of the people there. Unfortunately there wasn’t any photography allowed inside so I had to only take some of the exterior.
Given the 100th anniversary of the school in 2019, the archiv is undergoing a construction and modernization of its building, but you are still allowed to go in. As a designer, this place is a great way to revisit the history of design and even come for inspiration!