So, how did you do? Tot up your points according to the correct answers in italics and find out just how Bauhaus you are below
1. How would you describe your work-life balance?
a. Very poor. I rarely go to work = 0 points
b. A perfect tight-rope walk. Then I go home for dinner = 1 point
c. I’ve got the work part nailed, the life part, not so much = 0 points
Architect Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany in April 1919, on the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement. The school went on to become one of the leading arts and crafts centres in Europe and its founder approved of looking at all elements of life as one. He said: ‘Today it is impossible to reform just one partial object, we have to take a look at the entirety of life itself: housing, the education of children, gymnastics and much more.’
2. You’re decorating the lounge in a stylish scheme of primary colours (work with us here). Which colour do you pick for the clock?
a. Red = 0 points
b. Yellow = 0 points
c. Blue = 1 point
The Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky gave all Bauhaus members a questionnaire to fill in, asking them which colours they instinctively match to a triangle, circle and square - believing that there was a right answer, dictated by an inner truth of the colours and forms. He said the answer was yellow triangle, red square, blue circle.
3. You’re throwing a birthday party! Which font do you pick for the invitations?
Herbert Bayer, a Bauhaus student who later headed up their typography workshop, wanted to create a ‘universal’ typography, stripped of any cultural whims and based purely on function. In October 1925 he brought in the lowercase alphabet as the style for all Bauhaus printing. The font in picture A - drawn on a grid and based on geometric shapes – is what he came up with.
4. How do you feel about your national flag?
a. Pretty good. I sleep wrapped in it = 0 points
b. It’s fine – but only at football matches = 0 points
c. Pigeon-holed. We’re all just people, aren’t we? = 1 point
After the war, the Bauhaus founders hoped to create a place with no borders of national identity, instead using design as a universal language.
5. You’re shopping for a new shirt. Which pattern appeals most?
a. Checks = 1 point
b. Polka dots = 0 points
c. I hate patterns = 0.5 points (see below)
Where other art schools had taught students to copy the strokes of the masters, Bauhaus teachers were interested in stepping back and looking at how marks are made in the first place. Paul Klee used the checkerboard to demonstrate a sort of drawing by numbers – that if you place lines across one another at, say, 1 centimetre intervals, you get a structure that looks like this. But if you hate patterns, you might also be a bit Bauhaus: Klee liked to teach these structures before telling students to ignore them and do what they wanted.
6. You inherit your grandpa’s old bike – but it’s beyond repair. What do you do with it?
a. Scrap it. No point being sentimental about these things = 0 points
b. Fashion some kind of plinth in the garden and display it as a monument to him = 0 points
c. Take it apart and put it back together as a chair = 1 point
Implementing the Bauhaus idea of finding potential in existing materials, Marcel Breuer’s famous Bauhaus tubular chair design was inspired by a bicycle frame – and he called on a local aeroplane factory to help him produce them.
7. You’re tasked with creating a ‘total artwork’. What do you do?
a. Cover a canvas in toothpaste, and then petrol = 0 points
b. Build a very big house = 1 point
c. Make a powerful portrait of you and your pets = 0 points
While more traditional art schools kept fine art separate from applied arts and theory, Walter Gropius, believed that art forms should work together - and making a building was the ultimate combined output. If you picked option C, and had intended the powerful portrait of you and your pets to be a mural on the wall of your new house, you’re totally Bauhaus.
8. Your friend gives you a free trial to her gym. You:
a. Try a zumba class and claim it’s your last, saying: ‘I’m just not co-ordinated’ = 0 points
b. Shun it in favour of the exercises you do every morning = 1 point
c. Ask them what a gym is = 0 points
The Swiss artist and teacher and important early Bauhaus personality Johannes Itten - who shaved his head, wore his own Bauhaus-made outfit and followed the Mazdaznan movement – would often start his classes at the Bauhaus with a series of physical exercises. This was to relax and loosen up his students before class, during which they’d seek to create ‘direction and order out of flow’.
9. Which maxim do you live your life by?
a. Work hard, play hard = 0 points
b. Less is more = 1 point
c. To infinity, and beyond = 0 points
In 1925 the Bauhaus school moved from Weimar to Dessau, an industrial town close to Berlin. With the school’s new emphasis on technology in this period came the Weimar government’s disapproval. In 1930 the architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was appointed, and it was he who gave us the famous adage, ‘less is more’.
10. What’s your favourite skyline in the world?
a. The snow-capped mountains of the Alps = 0 points
b. The old-meets-new panorama of Kuala Lumpur = 0 points
c. It’s gotta be New York, New York baby = 1 point
Mies van der Rohe built upon the philosophy of Gropius’s modernist architecture, turning it into the design blueprint for New York City skyscrapers like the Seagram Building, which he designed with American architect Philip Johnson. Constructed in 1958 and standing at 160 metres tall, it is regarded a masterpiece in skyscraper design.
Counted your point total? (No cheating please). See just how Bauhaus you are if you scored:
Don’t get how art and life are connected? Bauhaus just isn’t your tapestry bag. Learn the basics in our upcoming series of Bauhaus for beginners!
Almost there. You’re in a kind of Bauhaus purgatory, fretting between the red square pill and the blue circular pill; and that’s before you’ve even tackled whether to sit in the steel tubular chair or crushed velvet recliner. Decisions, decisions.
You’ve pretty much got Bauhaus wrapped up (in unadorned parchment paper) and down to a sans serif lowercase ‘t’. Simple design and functionalism is etched into everything that’s you: from the clothes you wear and the furniture you buy, to the building you live in. Well done!