The Bauhaus, established in 1919 by German architect Walter Gropius, had the objective to rethink and unify the world of all the arts. Gropius' vision was for a union of art and design, to create a utopian craft guild bringing together architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single expression.
The Bauhaus connected aspects of both fine arts and design education, with students coming from a diverse range of social and educational backgrounds. They entered into specialized workshops, which were comprised of metalworking, cabinetmaking, weaving, pottery, typography, and wall painting.
Despite the fact, Gropius' original goal was to unify the arts through craft, elements of this approach proved financially impractical. So in 1923, he began to stress the importance of designing for mass production, and the school adopted the slogan "Art into Industry."
In 1925, the Bauhaus moved its campus from Weimar to Dessau, where Gropius designed a new building to house the school. This building incorporated many features that later became trademarks of modernist architecture
The cabinetmaking workshop was one of the most beloved at the Bauhaus. Under the guidance of Marcel Breuer from 1924 to 1928, this studio reinvented the very concept of furniture, pursuing the dematerialization of conventional forms such as chairs to their minimal existence.
Metalworking was also a favorite workshop at the Bauhaus and, along with the cabinetmaking studio. It was the most successful in developing design prototypes for mass production. It featured designers such as Marianne Brandt, Wilhelm Wagenfeld, and Christian Dell who created beautiful, modern pieces such as lighting fixtures and tableware.
Gropius resigned as director of the Bauhaus in 1928; and he was succeeded by the architect Hannes Meyer (1889–1954). Meyer preserved the emphasis on mass-production design and removed elements of the curriculum that he felt were overly formalist in nature. Also, he began to stress the social function of architecture and design, promoting the concern for the public good rather than on one's personal luxury.
In 1930, under the pressure of a right-wing municipal government, Meyer stepped down as director of the Bauhaus and was replaced by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Mies once more reconfigured the curriculum, increasing the emphasis on architecture. Lily Reich (1885–1947), who assisted Mies on many of his private commissions, assumed control of the new interior design department. In 1930, with the increased political instability in Germany, Mies to relocated the school to Berlin, where it operated on a reduced scale. It ultimately shuttered in 1933.
Amid the turbulent years of World War II, many of the principal figures of the Bauhaus moved to the United States, where their work and philosophies influenced generations of new architects and designers.
Marcel Breuer ended up teaching at Yale; Walter Gropius taught at Harvard, and Moholy-Nagy founded the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937.
Source: Met Museum