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The Bauhaus Design Style

What started as a German art school ended up as an art movement. The Bauhaus, which is German for construction house, was a school instituted by Walter Gropius. The art school had an exceptional approach to design and architecture which resulted in the Bauhaus movement in the 1900s. The schools closed after intimidation by the Nazis, but its legacy lives on today.

The Bauhaus style is often described as a hybrid of the Arts and Crafts movement and modernism, as seen by its emphasis on function. Typical Bauhaus designs, therefore, contain minimal decoration and a concentration on balanced proportions and abstract shapes, whether in painting, architecture, or interior design.

Bauhaus Style Architecture

The Bauhaus architecture is defined by perfectly balanced geometric shapes and a focus on function typical to this style. Rounded corners and walls are standard in buildings, as well as Rectangular characteristics, such as jutting balconies with flat, hefty railings facing the street and long banks of windows.

Features that distinguish Bauhaus structures include: 

  • Open plans with lots of glass

  • Glass curtain walls

  • Reinforced concrete and brickwork skeleton

  • Roofs with asphalt tiles suitable for walking on

  • Mushroom-like ceilings

Bauhaus Materials

One of the cornerstones of Bauhaus design is the concept of "truth to materials," in which materials are used in their most natural and unpolished state. Due to the simple designs and materials used, Bauhaus designs are easily mass-manufactured and therefore accessible to a vast number of people.

Common materials in this style include:

  • Glass on walls and windows to let in natural light

  • Tubular steel on furniture

  • Concrete for frames and walling

  • Cellophane on walls

  • Plywood on furniture and doors

Bauhaus Colors and Finishes

The Bauhaus design color was based on the Color theory that three art teachers taught in the art school: Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. The view associated colors with particular emotions, shapes, and musical tones. Color accents, such as painting a door or a wall in a primary red, yellow, or blue, can bring a little Bauhaus design into your home.

Finishes and colors that incorporate this design include:

  • Pops of bold primary colors sparingly on the interiors (red, yellow, and blue)

  • Neutral colors such as white, black, and gray on the exterior

  • Concrete and metal finishes

  • Smooth finishes with minimal ornamentation

Bauhaus Furniture and Decor

The classic furniture that graced Bauhaus spaces was always carefully chosen. An example is the chairs redesigned by Marcel Breuer. He wanted to make most metal pieces that were minimalistic and mass producible. The result of his experiment was a folding, lightweight chair named after Wassily Kandinsky.

Bauhaus pieces are characterized by:

  • Sharp corners and edges

  • Clean, simple, and strong lines

  • Combination of steel, wood, and leather

  • Chrome metal pipes that curve at corners

  • Bold primary colors, especially in artwork and accessories

Bauhaus Lighting

As it is with everything in Bauhaus, function, and design must interact. Bauhaus lighting gives spaces an industrial, retro, yet progressive feel. Bauhaus lamps are usually only one or two colors and stripped down to bare essentials. The three primary colors, blue, red, and yellow, are typical of this style and are frequently matched with neutrals such as black, white, and gray.

Look out for lighting fixtures with the following fixtures to infuse the Bauhaus style into your space.

  • Geometric designs 

  • Vivid color accents like red, blue, and yellow

  • Vibrant and stylish designs

  • Glass for floor lamps and ceiling lights

  • Brass and chrome elements 

Need Help Picking Out Fixtures?

At Urban Ambiance, we are here to help you. Whether you want something Minimal, or you'd like to replicate the vintage style of your grandparents, we have many light options to help. Contact us to learn more about this and other styles.