Blue circles, yellow triangles, and red squares - who wouldn't think of Bauhaus straight away? The Bauhaus School, an art school founded in Weimar in 1919, is thought of as the cradle of modernism. The buildings, furniture, posters and utility objects designed here are still considered contemporary almost a century later. The aim of this world-famous school was to combine crafts, art and technology, which made for a unique timetable.
Training for the Bauhaus alumni began with a pre-course which looked into the texture of colours, shapes and materials. Those who succeeded went on to be taught their craft in the wood, metal, glass, pottery or weaving workshops. The idea was to eventually use those skills in construction projects. Students were under the tutelage of such pre-eminent masters as Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. The hands-on approach helped students to understand colour nuances, colour contrasts and the effects of various shapes, and influenced the students' drafts and designs.
The designs of the female students, most of whom went through their training in the weaving workshop, are particularly influenced by their pre-course in the science of colours and shapes. They were the first to introduce abstract painting into utility textiles. These textile artists were quite clearly inspired by masters like Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Textile designs by the likes of Gunta Stölzl, Anni Albers, Otti Berger, Monica Bella Broner, Kitty Fischer and Grete Reichardt, to name but a few, are like abstract works of art, painted with threads. The straight lines of the weaving loom provided the structure for the use of a great variety of dyed yarns with which to create countless unique geometric patterns, based on basic shapes like triangles, squares or stripes - a gorgeous play of contrasts and proportions.
The pattern of this contemporary wallpaper is reminiscent of one of Anni Albers’ tapestries in red, white and black, designed in 1926, and a perfect example for the interplay of colour and contrast. A seemingly simple pattern of blocks and stripes of colour provides visual excitement via its own rhythm and the contrast of light and dark shades.
The weaving workshop became a place for experimentation with colours, shapes and materials. This is where the boundaries of traditional textile design were well and truly broken through. The stunning designs by Gunta Stölzl, a true master of the Bauhaus school of weaving, beautifully demonstrated that there were nay on no limits in terms of creativity and variation. Her multi-coloured designs – often using a pattern of triangles - showed that the skilful use of colour and contrast lends a specific dynamic to a work of art. This geometric play with colours is reflected in the following contemporary wallpapers:
What used to be avant-garde then is still considered avant-garde today. The abstract and progressive textile designs of the Bauhaus weavers are as important and relevant as they were a century ago. Designers in the fields of fashion, graphics and wallpapers continue to be inspired by the 1920s. They base their designs on the visual language of the Bauhaus era and re-interpret it to achieve a new angle. Current hues like pink, turquoise or petrol, and pastel tones like soft pinks or a fresh light blue, are used to great effect.
In 2015, tapestries have been replaced by wallpapers in geometric designs. Such a wallpaper can freshen up a room without the need to buy new furniture or paint the walls. Be it just one feature wall or an entire room, geometric shapes and patterns provide an exciting background to everyday life. When used in small doses, they can emphasise and accentuate a specific area, e.g. a study or bedroom. Colourful stripes, squares or triangles lend a certain artistic je ne sais quoi to any simple interior.
Those who are bit more brave and adventurous might contemplate combining patterned wallpapers with patterned accessories like rugs, blankets or cushions. This mix of patterns introduces energy and life into any environment.