To celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus movement, The Conran Shop has carefully curated a new season collection to pay homage to this influential design institution. For a limited time only, our Chelsea store windows have been transformed into a Bauhaus-inspired installation, complete with designs by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and Peter Keler.
Established in the German city of Weimar in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus is arguably the most ground-breaking art school of all time and produced some of the greatest artistic visionaries of modern times. Later moving to Dessau and then Berlin, the Bauhaus ethos incorporated craft, art, experimentation and industry to develop a new design lexicon that prioritised functionality and honesty in both materials and form. Prominent Bauhaus professors such as artist Wassily Kandinsky, weaver Anni Albers and designers Josef Albers, Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe believed in democratising design, and that beautiful, functional furniture should be accessible to all.
As these core values remain so closely aligned to Sir Terence Conran’s ethos, The Conran Shop marks the Bauhaus centenary by paying homage to this deeply influential institution. Presenting a collection of carefully curated pieces from international designers, The Conran Shop is continuing the Bauhaus legacy, 100 years on. In addition to the new season collection that includes UK exclusives of icons such as Marcel Breuer’s D4E Folding Chair from Tecta and key pieces that include the F42-1E Chaise Longue by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Peter Keler’s Bauhaus Cradle, The Conran Shop’s visual merchandising team have created an all-new installation in the Chelsea store windows.
Eulogising the most iconic architectural motifs found in the Bauhaus building in Dessau, namely the staircases and giant gridded windows, the structure has been specially designed to showcase the individual pieces from The Conran Shop’s collection. When asked to describe this ambitious project, Betsy Smith, the Head of Creative Presentation, commented that “the team carefully considered each piece of furniture and felt they deserved to be elevated onto plinths, highlighting their sculptural forms and the attention to craftsmanship behind their construction.”
Once the installation’s structure was decided upon, the team worked to incorporate traditional Bauhaus colours and other architectural details from the Dessau campus into the final assemblage. “The team didn’t want it to be too literal and was aiming for a stylized interpretation that felt like an architect’s model of the Bauhaus” Betsy continued, adding that “the scale of the gridded window frame should be very dramatic, and we are expecting this to cast dramatic shadows across the window space.”
The Conran Shop’s visual team have collaborated with scenic painting students and recent graduates from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to complete this large-scale undertaking. In the way that Bauhaus was a complete way of life, that blurred the boundaries between art, industrial design, theatre and movement, the team has capture the essence of this world-renowned artistic community by working and creating art together in one space.
When asked about which of the many lessons the Bauhaus bestowed upon the world was most important to her, Betsy assuredly replied “the theory of colour, the importance of experimentation and not to be afraid of bold colours” – again all extremely central to The Conran Shop’s own philosophy – just think about Conran Blue.