Piet Zwart

Piet Zwart was a Dutch designer born on May 28, 1885 North Holland. He trained as an architect, and began graphic design projects at age thirty-six. His training as an architect included designing furniture and interiors. He was influenced by the De Stijl movement, which focused on the essentials of form, colour and line, but later moved to a more functional design aesthetic. In the early 1920s Zwart received his first typographic commissions from Laga, a flooring manufacturer. Zwart had no formal training in typography or printing, so he was uninhibited by the rules and methods of traditional professional practices.

Zwart attended National School of Applied Arts in Amsterdam, which later merged into t Amsterdam University of the Arts, from 1902 to 1907. He studied a diverse range of art related subjects including painting and architecture,  and he was introduced to the principles of the English Arts and Crafts movement.

From 1908 he taught drawing and art history lessons at the Industrial and Domestic School for Girls in Leeuwarden.

From 1919, while continuing to work as an independent designer, he began teaching at the Rotterdam Academy of Visual Arts, now the Willem de Kooning Academy. He was dismissed in 1933 because of what were considered his radical ideas on education. Zwart’s ideas were similar to those of the Bauhaus art school in Germany, where, in 1929, he gave a series of guest lectures.

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In 1930, Piet Zwart was asked to design the “The Book of PTT.” The book was aimed at teaching school children how to use the Dutch postal service. Zwart looked at this as a way to “tickle their curiosity and encourage self reliance.” The book was full of bright colors and it was meant to be exciting. He created two main characters for the book: ‘The Post’ and ‘J Self’. They were paper doll cut-outs that he photographed and then touched up with chalk, ink, and color pencil. Additionally, he used many different fonts of varying sizes and thicknesses. He was assisted in illustrating the book by Dick Elffers. The book was finally published in 1938.

In 1942, during World War II, Zwart’s design career came to a halt when he was arrested by the occupying German forces. He was held prisoner, along with 800 other prominent people, in an internment camp. He was released in 1945 when the war ended. He resumed his career, mainly focusing on industrial design from this point onward.

Piet Zwart died in 1977, aged 92. The Piet Zwart Institute of the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam is named after him.

Piet Zwart is mostly known for his graphic design work. He started his career as an architect and draftsman and worked for Jan Wils and Berlage in 1919. Two years after working for Jans Wils, he worked with Dutch Architect Berlage for several years.


Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

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Born 27/3/1886 in Aachen Germany, and died in 17/8/1969.

He was commonly referred as Mies and was considered very much a modern architect, a trend setter and a pioneer in his time.

His early days were spent with his father who was a stone cutter. He helped his father, learning from him until he reached 15 and was fortunate to then receive an apprenticeship. He worked for several architects, sketching outlines of ornaments and architectural shapes. They would then be made into plasters, which would form decorations in stucco buildings. This skill then developed into linear drawings.

At 19 he moved to Berlin and worked as an apprentice with Bruno Paul, who was a leading furniture designer in the Art Nouveau period. At 21 Mies received his first commission on a traditional suburban home. He impressed Peter Behrens who was Germany’s most progressive architect, who then invited Mies to join him.

Behrens was a leading architect and through him, Mies established ties with the association of artists and craftsman. This advocated a union between art and technology that was to change the International style of modern architecture.

Mies style was one of extreme clarity and simplicity. He used the most modern material available, including industrial steel and large plates of glass. He strived to get unobstructed views with wide open spaces within these buildings. His motto was always “Less is More”.  Always going one step further, he made a dramatic modernist debut by designing the first skyscaper buildings. “The Friedrichstrabe skyscaper” in 1921 following with the taller one named “Glass Skyscaper” in 1922. In 1929, he continued breaking ground with the project called “Barcelona Pavilion”.

He was invited to join Bauhaus as a director, to continue their function and application of simple shapes and remained there as their last director until 1937

After Bauhaus, Mies decided to go to USA and work for the Department of architecture at Institute of Technology in Chicago (IIT) Whilst working there he worked on their new building The Crown Hall.  He continued working at IIT in his own studio, for a further 31years. His projects there included: Farnsworth House, which is now listed as a National Trust property. The Seagram Building was another and Mies was involved in many more iconic buildings.

Two other things to quickly mention are his famous Barcelona chair designed by him and the Mies Font which was the first very simple font without Serif, being very controversial for the time.

Mies died in 17/8/1969, leaving behind a substantial string of buildings and ideas which led the many modern ideas that are used today.

Herbert Bayer

Herbert Bayer
Master of Design

If I was to have a mentor or an ideal target to emulate in my design career, I can find no better example than Herbert Bayer. A man who accepted no creative boundaries in his varied and diverse design career. He was a true innovator and significant in so many areas. Times were revolutionary and his work portrays this. Just as WW1 finished we find that design was “Putting the chaos of life into rational forms”. The machine era was making things in life efficient and functional, in this Herbert Bayer reflected the Bauhaus school of its beliefs, accomplishments and innovations. Herbert Bayer’s style still to this day reflects a timelessness bounded only by the technology of his day. Some of these amazing influences in different mediums are described in the following paragraphs.

ABayer-Universal.pngTypography. Herbert Bayer was head of the first typographic workshop in the Bauhaus, Disrupting the status quo with the Universal font; this was unique at the time as this type form was based on only lower case letters. Simple to read and clear of any superfluous serifs or embellishments, along with Bauhaus design theory moving away from handcrafting and better suited to the mass production methods developing then, Universal evolved over time to be a very much used and expanded on typeface of the modern age.


ABayer-photo-montage-eye.jpgPhotomontage. As common as it is today, “cut and paste” was a huge new innovation then and Herbert Bayer was a major contributor to this style of graphic design. Requiring much more skill than we now need with digital tools, His combination of type and images is famously portrayed in the cover of the 1928 issue of the Bauhaus Zeitschrifte Magazine. (image) (image text- In search for clarity and efficiency the cover consists only of exactly what is needed in order to symbolize the content and nothing more. Without overwhelming the reader with too much information, it provokes a lot of interest. It attracts attention, but also implies that the really important information is inside.) As photographic and supporting technology improved his works contained more detail thru clarity, Successfully transferring the simple display of complex human emotion in his montage works along with provoking great interest using “the windows to the human soul” His use of human eyes characterized his style and his timelessness reinforced the objectiveness of the creative movement he was surrounded with.

Abayer-circle theory.jpgInterior Design. Herbert Bayer’s style of creativity led to “a graphical way of thinking into a 3 dimensional space” At the beginnings of trends toward commercial installations and exhibition displays Herbert Bayer once again disrupted the concepts of spatial design, bombarding the visitor with Art, Information, Sounds and Images, provoking deep emotional reaction giving the feelings of understanding and adapting the environment as their own. A complex task achieved by applying the 360-degree design principles of the circle. Peace, Harmony and Wholeness giving the viewer better bond and immersion into the information. Herbert Bayer developed on the connection between the person and the designer, providing fruitfulness for the true artist wanting to touch the audience.

Environmental design. Herbert Bayer’s interest in the relationship between the humans and the surrounding environment grew even more as his travels widened and experiences living in America broadened his scope of ideas. Everyone has heard of Aspen, Colorado… Did you know Herbert Bayer was responsible for the reconstruction and re-modeling of the whole town! He took the position of art consultant and architect for the whole village, “his duties included everything from town planning and architecture to graphic design of his hotel’s stationary”. Aspen-Mountain-town pic.jpgherbert-bayer-eco.jpg

Environment to Herbert Bayer was all-inclusive and working with the Container
Corporation of America he promoted recycling long before the dire need of it today.

The Key things I take away from Herbert Bayer is the basic Bauhaus principle “Form Follows Function” In that a design of an object should be primarily based upon its intended design or purpose.. Take that approach to anything you create and you will be on a winner..

oskar shlemmer



Oskar Schlemmer, (born September 4, 1888, Stuttgart, Germany—died April 13, 1943, Baden-Baden, Germany), German painter, sculptor, choreographer, and designer known for his abstract yet precise paintings of the human form as well as for his avant-garde ballet productions.

Schlemmer was exposed to design theory at a young age as an apprentice in a marquetry workshop. He took classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) in Stuttgart, and a scholarship allowed him to further his studies at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Art (1906–10). He spent a year in Berlin painting and familiarizing himself with new trends in art by artists associated with the Der Sturm Gallery. He then returned to Stuttgart in 1912 and became a master student of abstract artist Adolf Hölzel.

Schlemmer was wounded in action while serving in World War I and returned to Stuttgart in 1916. In 1919 he helped spearhead a movement to modernize the curriculum at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Art—which also involved a staunch effort to have Paul Klee appointed to the faculty there—and, more generally, to bring modern art exhibitions to Stuttgart. He was integral to organizing early exhibitions, which featured his own work as well as that of Klee, Willi Baumeister, and others.

In 1920 Schlemmer married Helena (“Tut”) Tutein, and that same year Walter Gropius invited him to the Bauhaus school in Weimar to teach. There he made significant contributions to numerous departments (sculpture, mural painting, metal work, and life drawing) but truly left his mark in the stage workshop. For that workshop he created his best-known work, Das triadisches Ballett (1922; “The Triadic Ballet”)—a ballet that he choreographed and for which he designed costumes. He named it “Triadic” to reflect the three acts, three dancers, and three colours (one for each act). The costumes he designed—based on cylinder, sphere, cone, and spiral shapes—were revolutionary. That ballet premiered in Stuttgart in 1922 and was then presented throughout the 1920s in cities such as Weimar, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, and Paris. Schlemmer served as head of the stage workshop at the Bauhaus from 1923 to 1929. His experience with dance influenced his paintings, which began to incorporate more depth and volume, as seen in The Dancer (1923). Schlemmer developed the Bauhaus theatre in Dessau—where the school had relocated in 1925—and was involved in the design process of many theatrical productions.

Throughout the 1920s Schlemmer was commissioned to paint several murals in both private residences, such as the home of architect Adolf Meyer (1924), and public spaces, such as the former Bauhaus in Weimar (1923), which the Nazis destroyed in 1930, and the Folkwang Museum in Essen (1928–30), which the Nazis vandalized, dismantled, and removed in 1933. Schlemmer left the Bauhaus in 1929.

From the Bauhaus, Schlemmer moved to Breslau, where he continued to work in theatre and teach (State Art Academy). He also continued to paint, and in 1932 he created his well-known work Bauhaus Stairway. Without warning the Nazi regime dismissed him from his teaching position in 1933. Schlemmer moved to Switzerland for a brief time with his wife and children and painted portraits and landscapes.

The last decade of Schlemmer’s life was marred by the Nazi dictatorship and defamation of his life’s work. In 1937 five of his works were included in the Nazi-organized “Degenerate Art” exhibition in Munich. He continued to exhibit his work when possible and participated in major exhibitions in London and New York City in 1938. Schlemmer was reunited with Baumeister and other artists in 1940 when he moved to Wuppertal, Germany, where he earned a living by working at a lacquer factory. He died of a heart attack three years later. Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet was revived on a number of occasions in the late 20th century and was performed with the original, restored costumes. Those costumes, however, were the only original elements remaining. The music and choreography associated with Schlemmer’s production were lost. A volume of his diaries and letters edited by his wife was published in 1972; an English translation by Krishna Winston was issued in 1990.

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Bauhaus~Naum Slutzky


Russian born Slutzky, was a Bauhaus school industrial designer, whose creations reflected the age of machine technology; precious metals were rejected as inflation prices in Germany soared at the time, forcing goldsmiths to turn to base metals instead. The resounding feature of Bauhaus design was process and function rather than the value of the materials.

Slutzky studied engineering and fine art in Vienna, the two disciplines evident in his work. He started working as a goldsmith at the Wiener Werkstatte between 1912-13 before undertaking engineering studies (1914-19) at the Technical High School, along with formal artistic training at the Viennese Art School. .

In December 1919, Slutzky was invited by Walter Gropius to be an assistant in the metal and goldsmithing workshops of the Weimar Bauhaus, working with Christian Dell and Laslo Moholy-Nagy. In 1922 he was asked to lead the workshop for metalwork at the Bauhaus School and became a master goldsmith. . Between 1927 and 1933, he practised as an interior designer, lighting consultant and goldsmith for the retailer, Kaufmann of Hamburg.

Having been forced to flee to Britain from Germany in 1933 he carried on to have a rich and successful career and taught in many prestigious institutes After the war, from 1946-50, he was a tutor in jewellery design at the London, Central School of Arts and Crafts and from 1950-57, he was a lecturer in Product Design in the Department of Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art. He spent the final years of his career as Senior Lecturer in Product Design at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts (1957-64) and Professor of Industrial Design at Ravensbourne College of Art, Bromley (1965)..

He was distinguished as being one of the most original jewellers to be associated with the Bauhaus. His work is characterised by simple geometric elegance, where designs are stripped to the bare minimum with engineering playing a subtle but vital role. He died on the 4th of November, 1965.

A silver Modernist design ring, 1965, the shank fitted with three irregular oblong silver bars, approx size N/O, with Slutzky’s stamp to reverse, together with a copper and silvered metal maquette of a similar design ring. An identical ring is held at the V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum) location Jewellery, room 91, case 43, shelf B, box 10.

Two rings one the prototype for a design and the second the finished article – show not only the workings and originality that often wouldn’t been seen but, also shows how closely his original ideas became final pieces.

Further examples of Slutzky work including jewellery and a teapot are held in the Victoria & Albert collections, all were acquired from Gesche Ochs; who became an important patron to his work in the 1920s.

The collection is a beautiful insight into the art movement that revolutionised 20th century design.

Forced to flee to Britain from Germany in 1933, he first started working as a designer for the well established Birmingham lighting firm, Best and Lloyd but by the following year, he was a employed as an art teacher at the progressive school, Dartington Hall, in Totnes, Devon where he remained until 1940. After the war, from 1946-50, he was a tutor in jewellery design at the London, Central School of Arts and Crafts and from 1950-57, he was a lecturer in Product Design in the Department of Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art. He spent the final years of his career as Senior Lecturer in Product Design at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts (1957-64) and Professor of Industrial Design at Ravensbourne College of Art, Bromley (1965).

He died on the 4th of November, 1965.

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Naum Slutzky





Joseph Albers


“For me, abstraction is real, probably more real than nature.”

Joseph Albers

Joseph Albers was a German born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United Sates, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far reaching art education programs of the twentieth century.

Albers enrolled as a student in the preliminary course (Vorkurs) of Johannes Ltten at the Weimor Bauhaus in 1920. Although Albers had studied painting, it was a maker of stained glass that he joined the faculty of the Bauhaus in 1922, approaching his chosen medium as a component of architecture and as a stand a lone art form. The director and founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropus asked him in 1923 to teach in the preliminary course ‘Werklehre’ of the department of design to introduce newcomers to the principles of handcrafts, because Albers came from that background and had appropriate practice and knowledge.

In 1925, Albers was promoted to professor the year the Bauhaus moved to Dessau.

After the Bauhaus closed in Dessau Albers emigrated to the United States.

In 1933 Albers was offered a job as head of school at a new school, called Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

In 1950 Albers left Black Mountain to head the department of design at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Alberts worded at Yale until he retired from teaching in 1958.

In 1968, he published Interaction of Colour which presented his theory that colours were governed by an internal and deceptive logic.

Accomplished as a designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker and poet Albers is best remembered for his work as an abstract painter and theorist. He favoured a very disciplined approach to composition. Most famous of all are the hundreds of paintings and prints that make up the series, Homage to the Square. In this rigorous series, begun in 1949 Alberts explored chromatic interactions with nested squares. Usually painting on Masonite, he used a palette knife with oil colours and often recorded the colours used on the back of his works. Each painting consists of either three or four squares of solid planes of colour nested within one another.

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Josef Albers Homage to the Square

Teaching Josef Albers Interaction of Colour; Anoka Faruqee

Josef Albers as a Catholic Artist


Neglected for most of her career, Eileen Gray is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early 20th century and the most influential women in those fields. Her work inspired both modernism and Art deco!

Eileen Gray was born In Ireland and 1878 in a well-to-do family. She grew up in London and was one of the first women admitted to the Slade School of Art in 1898. She moved to Paris in 1902 and after training in Japanese lacquer work she quickly established herself as one of the leading designers of lacquered screens and decorative panels. In the story of art Eileen Gray was seen and regarded as a very important modernist, architect and very important painter- She is a total artist! She designed furniture, buildings, carpets and lighting that continue to find their way into production decades after her death.


Eileen discovered lacquer work in London, and while in Paris, She met Seizo Sugawara, a Japanese lacquer master. During this time Eileen Gray became a very devoted student and was the first western practitioner of Japanese lacquer work. When the war broke out in 1914, Eileen returned to London for the duration, taking the Sugawara with her. Shortly after in 1922, she then opened a shop in Paris to sell her lacquer work as well as her carpet designs, focusing on decorative surfaces and luxurious materials. By the late 1920s tastes had changed, and Eileen turned her attention to architecture.


Eileen Gray is still considered the epitome of Modernism. Her designs are truely amazing and her lifetime achievements continue to be recognised and honoured now. The Bidendum chair and adjustable table E-1027 featured are considered to be amongst her most popular designs and are widely copied today.


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Walter Gropius

Walter Gropius  (18 May 1883 – 5 July 1969)

Walter Gropius is German Architect and founder of the Bauhaus school. Bauhaus school is the first Design school found in German. Gropius couldn’t draw but, he have an incredible concept of design. Gropius’s career advanced in the postwar period. Henry van de Velde, the master of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar was asked to step down in 1915 due to his Belgian nationality. His recommendation for Gropius to succeed him led eventually to Gropius’s appointment as master of the school in 1919. It was this academy which Gropius transformed into the world famous Bauhaus, attracting a faculty that included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky. In principle, the Bauhaus represented an opportunity to extend beauty and quality to every home through well designed industrially produced objects. The Bauhaus program was experimental and the emphasis, was theoretical. One example product of the Bauhaus was the armchair F 51, designed for the Bauhaus’s directors room in 1920 – nowadays a re-edition in the market, manufactured by the German company TECTA/Lauenfoerde. In 1923, Gropius designed his famous door handles, now considered an icon of 20th century design and often listed as one of the most influential designs to emerge from Bauhaus.

Gropius died on July 6, 1969 Walter Gropius was diagnosed with an illness that consisted of an inflammation of the glands, and was admitted to the hospital on 7 June. After a necessary operation performed on 15 June ended successfully there was hope of a full recovery. Gropius described himself as a “tough old bird” and continued to make progress for about a week. His lungs became congested and could not supply proper amounts of oxygen to the blood and brain and he lost consciousness and died in his sleep early Sunday morning.

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Wikipedia – Walter Gropius

Walter Groupies Building History

Bauhaus History

Walter Groupies other 10 work

All About Bauhaus

Walter Groupies Style

Wassily Kandinsky (1866 -1944)

Wassily Kandinsky 2852fd6f7ba2c490a50f99c40d8f1e44

(1866 -1944)

The Russian painter and graphic artist Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was one of the great masters of modern art and the outstanding representative of pure abstract painting that dominated the first half of the 20th century.

Painting was, above all, deeply spiritual for Kandinsky. He sought to convey profound spirituality and the depth of human emotion through a universal visual language of abstract forms and colors that transcended cultural and physical boundaries.

Kandinsky was among the most important leaders of the abstract art movement of early twentieth century and he is considered a pioneer in non-figurative painting. His early work featured landscapes but he is best known for his later abstract paintings featuring geometric shapes with bright colours. The year 1910 was crucial for Kandinsky and for world art as he produced his first abstract watercolor.

Kandinsky believed that each time period puts its own stamp on artistic expression; his vivid interpretations of colour through musical and spiritual sensibilities certainly altered the artistic landscape at the start of the 20th century continuing into the modern age.






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Theo Van Doesburg

Being one of the founders and leading theorist of De Stijl Theo Van Doesburg and his movement flourished into one of the major inter-war art movements, advocating a simplified, geometric, and aesthetic reduction in the visual arts. Also arguing that painting, design and architecture be fully integrated Van Doesburg created numerous abstract paintings, designed buildings, room decorations furniture and house hold items.

Theo wrote many essays and published journals on geometric abstraction and De Stijl he also organised numerous exhibitions of works by De Stijl and related movements.

Theo had his own personal version of De Stijl which he called Elementarism, whicch emphasised subtle shifts in patterns and tone, tilting shapes and objects such as squares and rectangles relative to the picture plane, he allowed horizontal and vertical lines to be coloured and and disconnected from one another also varying in length.

Van Doesburgs first exhibition was in 1908. onward from 1912, he wrote for magazines to support his work considering himself a modern painter at this time. Van Doesburgs style changed in 1913 after reading Wassily Kandinsky’s “Ruckblicke” he looked back on his life as a painter from 1903-1913. making him realise that there was a higher more spiritual level in painting.

Van doesburg stayed active in art groups and the magazine called Cercle et Carre which he ended up leaving in 1929. in late February 1931 he was forced to to move to Davos in  Switzerland due to his health dramatically decreasing. he died of a heart attack on march 7 1931.






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