Bauhaus x IKEA
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This edited volume explores the far-reaching influence of two 20th-century design icons: the Bauhaus art school and the furniture company IKEA.
The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 and disbanded in 1933, but in its short existence it served as a crucible for much of what came to be known as modernist design. It set out to transform daily life for the better by incorporating mass manufacturing techniques into the design of everything from single objects to buildings, putting in motion the democratisation of design. Just 10 years after the Bauhaus’ closure, this principle would become the theoretical and functional foundation for IKEA.
‘Design for everyone’, IKEA’s guiding principle, is both the embodiment of Bauhaus ideals and a business plan that has seen modernism repackaged in the form of a global consumer goods empire. Considered together, the Bauhaus and IKEA could be said to have profoundly transformed how our societies relate to and understand design and its artefacts. But as we grapple with climate change and the wreckage brought about by the consumer-driven, mass manufacturing models promulgated by the Bauhaus, and then perfected by IKEA, how might we reckon with this legacy, and what can we learn from it?
Through a carefully curated selection of essays and photography, Bauhaus × IKEA traces the profound but not always benign influence of these global design icons across history, politics, pedagogy, art and society.