Meisterhausfest Bauhaus Dessau
April 27th, 2014 by smow

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of strolling with us through Potsdam will know our feelings on recreating exact replicas of long since lost buildings.

Yet much as we get annoyed, dismayed, confused, upset, angry, depressed and downright cross by the unjustifiable, untenable decisions taken in Brandenburg, we do appreciate that often such decisions have to be made.

Such as in Dessau in context of Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy’s Masters’ Houses.

One and a half of four near identical buildings designed by Gropius for the Bauhaus Dessau teaching staff, Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy’s former dwellings were destroyed in an allied war time raid.

And pretty much since then the debate has raged.

Rebuild exactly as they were?

Don’t rebuild and use the space for something else?

Rebuild with reference to the original?

The Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau finally opted for the later, and on the weekend 16th – 18th May will publicly unveil and open the new houses.

Designed by Berlin based architect bureau Bruno Fioretti Marquez the new constructions are clearly based on/inspired by/reminiscent of the originals, without being exact replicas. And in the case of the Gropius Villa, rejects any form of a kitsch “homage”.

What is very much in keeping with the Bauhaus Dessau tradition however is that just as the festivities for the opening of Bauhaus Dessau in 1926 lasted all weekend, so to is the celebration of the new Meisterhäuser being spread over several days.

Festivities begin on Wednesday May 14th with the opening of the exhibition “Dessau 1945: Moderne zerstört” in the Aula of Gropius’s Bauhaus Dessau building: an exhibition documenting the slow, then much more rapid, moral and physical demise of Dessau during the war years as seen through the lens of the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

On Friday May 16th the new houses will be officially opened by German President Gauck, an act which simultaneously launches a weekend of activities and events in and around Dessau.

A particular highlight promise to be a series of discussions with descendants of prominent Bauhäusler on Saturday May 17th, including Hattula Moholy-Nagy, daughter of László; Conrad Feininger, grandson of Lyonel; and Gunta Stölzl’s daughter Monika Stadler. That, and of course the party for Walter Gropius’ 131st birthday on Sunday May 18th.

In addition the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau are offering free tours of the Bauhaus Meisterhäuser over the complete weekend.

Full details – sadly currently only in German, because obviously no non-German speakers would or could be interested in such a Bauhaus Fest!!! – can be found at

Meisterhausfest Bauhaus Dessau

Meisterhausfest - New Masters' Houses for Bauhaus Dessau

Posted in Architecture, Bauhaus Tagged with: , , ,

Vitra Cushions
July 29th, 2009 by julius

It’s Dumfries Show on Saturday.

That won’t mean much to the most people, but for us it is a sure sign.

Winter is coming.
We know, we know. Barely have we got use to remembering to take our sunglasses to work, buying ice-creams for lunch or waking up at 5 am because we forgot to shut the curtains – again – than the Dumfries Agricultural Society hold their annual show.
And after the Dumfries show the evenings get shorter with increasing rapidity and before you know it the ground will be brown with dying leaves.

Oh Joy!

And so the time is surely rife to start thinking about lighting for the dark months ahead. Below are a few of our suggestions, in addition to our previous favourites from the spring design shows.


FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell

FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell

In the first half of 2009 Italian producer Kartell invested a lot of marketing effort into promoting their lighting range, or The Kartellights Collection to give it its correct name. Which is no bad thing. For most Kartell is all about Philippe Starck‘s chairs, Ron Arad’s Bookworm or Philippe Starck’s chairs, and too little attention is given to their lighting collection. One of the true highlights in the collection is FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani. Made in transparent methacrylate, the cover of FL/Y is not perfectly hemispherical but, rather, the cut-off is underneath the height of the diameter allowing it to collect the most light.  In addition, the special transparency of the material combined with the sheen of the colours bring to mind a soap bubble, iridescent with reflections of light. FL/Y by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell is available in 9 transparent colours and opaque black and white.


Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide

Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide

It takes a brave producer to take what is in essence a table lamp design and scale it up to a floor version. But that is pretty much what the idea behind Talak Lettura by Neil Poulton for Artemide. At 139 cm high, the intention with Lettura is not a lamp to illuminate a whole room, but much more – and as the name implies – it is a floor standing reading lamp. [Lettura is Italian for reading for all who have not been to Milan] The lighting element itself is embedded in the vertical arm, and is available as either an LED or a fluorescent unit. The vertical arm can be rotated round 360 degrees meaning that you can position it over a desk for working/reading and then – assuming your room is correctly laid out – swing it round to allow you to continue to read in your favourite armchair. With its intense, warm light Talak Lettura not only adds an attractive ambience to a room on account of it’s stylish minimal design, but also through it’s illumination.

Bauhaus Lamp by Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Much adored, much copied, only buy originals

WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld from Tecnolumen

WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld from Tecnolumen

Having bought Eileen Gray’s Roquebrune chair to place next to your Eiermann Table you will of course be looking for the perfect lamp to complete your informal study corner at home. The WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld was created by the young designer shortly after his admission to the Bauhaus workshop in Weimar. The result of an assignment given to him by Hungarian designer and Bauhaus Professor László Moholy-Nag, the lamp can in many ways be considred as ther starting point of Wagenfeld’s design career. As with almost all famous designs from the Bauhaus period, the Wagenfeld lamp’s are amongst the most copied of all industrialal designs, and purchasers should be wary of buying cheap replicas where quality craftsmanship has been sacrifice din favour of profit. All Wagenfeld lamps sold by (smow) are, as with all products (smow) sell, officially licensed originals – in the case of the WA24 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld that means from Tecnolumen, Bremen.


Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark for moooi

Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark for moooi

If we start a post with a sentence like “And now a lamp for those looking for a little different”, it can only mean one thing … moooi. On this occasion we’re going to forgo the insane beauty of Horse Lamp by Front and instead recommend Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark. If we’re honest when we first saw pictures of the Clusterlamp we thought it was a joke. A big, fat unfunny Dutch joke.

And then felt a little guilty after seeing it “in real life” as we realised that although it unquestionably posses the inventive genius of a Laurel and Hardy or Helge Schneider, it isn’t funny.

The PR text from moooi talks of it evoking experimentation with ambient expression, and while that may be true, for us the true charm of Clusterlamp is the fact that you only notice it when it’s switched off. We’re not going to pretend it looks particularly attractive, or that it is a lamp for every situation, but with it’s pleasant, inoffensive illumination and radical design Clusterlamp by Joel Degermark is definitely a lamp for …. you know the rest. Clusterlmap is available with a choice of three bulb sets (each set conatining five bulbs). The bulb sets can also be purchased separately for those looking to mix and match.

Vitra Cushions

Cushions from Vitra

Cushions from Vitra.

No they don’t light up, but what’s the point in creating a pleasantly lit environment if you can’t get comfortable with a good cushion or six. Vitra offer two ranges of cushions each covered with fabrics from US producer Maharam. The Maharam collection “Textiles of the 20th Century” is a range of re-issues of some of the most important designs in the Maharam archives. These include such classics as Geometri by Verner Panton, Small Dot Pattern by Charles and Ray Eames or Millerstripe by Alexander Girard. “Repeat” is a series of re-workings of classic designs from the archives of a Swiss mill by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. For the Vitra cushion range three of the designs – stripe, hounds-tooth and dot ring – are available in range of colours. Both ranges offer not only exquisite design to finish off and compliment any interior, but also something soft and friendly to hold when you want to relax of a damp autumn evening after a hard days work. Depending on the design chosen the type of fabric does vary and so please check with (smow) before ordering.

Posted in Designer, Product Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,