The Bauhaus spirit

Bauhaus Spirit: 100 Years of Bauhaus
Documentary directed by Niels Bolbrinker & Thomas Tielsch
German & English with English subtitles
Showing as part of the German Film Festival

The Bauhaus was a design school that flourished in Germany from the early 1920s through to the 1930s, when it was extinguished by Nazi repression.

It was based on the notion of swirling together all the arts, and allowing design and architecture to spring from the synthesis. Bauhaus became a “movement” influencing art, architecture, town planning, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and even type faces.

Its ethos has been felt world-wide.

It took me two viewings to get into the spirit of this documentary. At first, I regarded it as pretentious. But on the second viewing, I was captured by the atmosphere of creative spirits working towards a better world.

Not all Bauhaus projects succeeded, especially in the modernist style of architecture that sprang from it post-World War II. That was an example of commodity capitalism taming a creative project.

Bauhaus-influenced town planners set out to build ideal post-war communities on the outskirts of bombed out cities. Unfortunately, those experiments failed as the lack of mass transportation isolated the inhabitants.

However, new Bauhaus planners are interacting with slum communities in Medellin and Caracas and learning new lessons from the inhabitants, rather than imposing visions from the outside.

The energy and imagination in these projects show that the Bauhaus spirit lives.

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