Peter Behrens (1868-1940)

Peter Behrens was a German architect and designer. As one of the most influential designers of the 20th century, he is considered the founder of modern industrial architecture and modern industrial design.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Behrens#/media/File:Peter_Behrens,_um_1913.jpg

About his life

Peter Behrens was born in Hamburg in a Protestant family. He studied painting in his hometown before moving to Düsseldorf and Karlsruhe between 1886 and 1889. In 1899, after marrying Lilly Kramer, he moved with her to Munich, where he joined the Jugendstil movement. There he first worked as a painter, illustrator, and artisan bookbinder, gradually approaching bohemian circles and developing a deep interest in themes related to modern living. In 1893 he was a founding member of the Munich Secession. Later, in 1899, he accepted the invitation of the Grand Duke Ernest Louis of Hesse to be one of the participants in his project of an artists’ settlement. 

La maison de Peter Behrens (Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt)
Behrens House, 1899- Peter Behrens

Image source:https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/d20fdb0c-907e-4dee-8cbb-257bff9c098f by dalbera

About his work

In addition to architecture (housing for workers and their families), Behrens also designed household appliances. He worked to standardize the shapes of their components to make them interchangeable and to simplify the production process. In 1898, Peter Behrens collaborated with the Berlin design magazine Pan and created his first furniture design. He produced also woodcuts, colored illustrations, designs for book bindings, and crafts objects entirely shaped by the Jugendstil formal language.

Service à café de P. Behrens (British Museum)
Coffee service by P. Behrens (British Museum)

Image source:https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/15de5f41-09a1-400f-9711-0d6c36bec80f by dalbera

Bouilloire électrique de Peter Behrens (musée des arts décoratifs, Paris)
Electric kettle by Peter Behrens (museum of decorative arts, Paris)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/d52a7d80-670f-423f-9e83-df1f3be4b38f by dalbera

Behrens made significant contributions to the development of painting, architecture, graphic and industrial design. His outstanding works have had a huge impact in all these areas, laying the foundation for the experiments and discoveries of future generations (including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Walter Gropius).

DSC06900
Peter Behrens’ AEG Turbine Factory

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/9919a996-412f-44e4-86b9-8454a973724e by IK’s World Trip

About his style

Peter Behrens was one of the leaders of architectural reform at the edge of the century and was a major designer of factories and office buildings in brick, steel, and glass.  He was one of the most important forerunners of Modernism and Functionalism, as much as fellow contemporary designers, architects, and painters Henri van de Velde, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Josef Hoffmann, or Gustav Klimt and Mies van der Rohe

What are the major works of Peter Behrens?

  • Behrens House, Darmstadt, Germany, 1899;
  • AEG Turbine Factory Berlin, Germany, 1909;
  • AEG Factory Hall, Berlin, Germany, 1910;
  • Office building of the Hoechst AG, Frankfurt, Germany, 1920-1925;
  • Winarsky-Hof (with J. Frank, J. Hoffmann, O. Strnad, Wlach), Vienna, Austria, 1924;
  • Franz-Domes-Hof, Vienna, Austria, 1928; Tobacco Factory. Linz, Austria, 1929-1935 (with A. Popp).
Poster by Peter Behrens for the company (AEG- year of creation 1907)

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/4bbafbbf-b869-4f5d-bbc3-259239b56365 by MCAD Library

Arts Journal 1912
Arts Journal 1912- By Peter Behrens.
From Jahrbücher 1913.

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/81a7c8c2-faba-46d4-a992-ea69bc4835f2 by Double–M


Info sources:

www.senses-artnouveau.com

www.behrens-peter.com

en.wikipedia.org

www.behrens-peter.com

For more references, please also visit: www.jbdesign.it/idesignpro