Functionalism (1919-1933)

Functionalism was an European design movement started in 1919 and strictly related to the Bauhaus. It was based on the idea that every industrial product or building had to be extremely functional, like a machine. The product was designed according to its functions rather than to theoretical indications or artistic trends.

The Bauhaus Dessau
The Bauhaus Dessau

Image source: https://history.knoji.com/modernism-in-design/


 

Functionalism- The Bauhaus

The Bauhaus started in Weimar in 1919 and moved to Dessau until 1932. One of the biggest ideas to come out of the Bauhaus was ‘functionalism’. It shaped what we know as the Modern Movement.  At the time of the Bauhaus people were very impressed with the power and scope of machines. The machine became a symbol for the future.

Bauhaus designs often incorporated straight lines and geometric forms and were very critical of useless ornamentation. Primary colours (red, yellow, and blue) were supposed to have a special relationship with what were considered primary forms (circle, square, and triangle).

Info source: http://web1.arthurphil-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/tas/Bauhaus/Bauhaus_History.html


 

Functionalist Architecture

  • Form of a building determined by practical considerations such as use, material, and structure.
  • Type of architecture based on the clear outward expression of the function of the building.

Villa Tugendhat, Brno, Czech Republic– one of the icon of modern architecture in Europe, and was designed by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Villa Tugendhat, Brno, Czech Republic
Villa Tugendhat, Brno, Czech Republic

Mies used a revolutionary iron framework, which enabled him to dispense with supporting walls and arrange the interior in order to achieve a feeling of space and light. There were no paintings or decorative items in the villa, but the interior was by no means austere due to the use of naturally patterned materials such as the captivating onyx wall and rare tropical woods. The onyx wall is partially translucent and changes appearance when the evening sun is low. The architect managed to make the magnificent view from the villa an integral part of the interior.

Info and image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Tugendhat

 

Södra Ängby is a residential area, encompassing more than 500 buildings, blending with garden city ideals, located in western Stockholm, Sweden.

 

Villa Müller
Villa Müller

Villa Müller is a building designed by Adolf Loos in 1930. The villa is located in Prague, Czech Republic. It embodies Loos’ ideas of economy and functionality. The spatial design, known as Raumplan, is evident in the multi-level parts of individual rooms, indicating their function and symbolic importance.  For the exterior of the Villa Müller, Loos designed a white, cubic facade. He also wanted to distinguish between the outside, where the view could be seen by the public ey
e, and the inside, the private spaces of those who lived there. Consequently, the interior is lavishly decorated with comfortable furniture and marble, wood, and silk surfaces.

Info and image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_M%C3%BCller#Architecture

 

Functional Design Objects

  • Designed objects are rational, non-ornate, and based on scientific principles.
  • Aesthetic assessments were made in terms of function, and beauty was defined in terms of utility.

Marcel Lajos Breuer (1902 – 1981), was a Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer. His works included the Wassily, also known as the Model B3 chair, was designed in 1925-1926, and Desk B91,  Marcel Breuer, 1930.

Model B3 chair
Model B3 chair

 

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Chair

 

Marianne Brandt (1893-1983),  German painter,  sculptor,  photographer  and   designer who studied at the Bauhaus school. Brandt’s designs for metal ashtrays, tea and coffee services, lamps and other household objects are now recognized as among the best of the Weimar and Dessau Bauhaus.

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Image source: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O116649/ashtray-brandt-marianne/

 

 

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