Bauhaus Brand 1919–2019

Bauhaus Brand 1919–2019

The Victory of Iconic Form over Use

Bauhaus: what it was, what it is, what it may be



Title Information

Philipp Oswalt

1st edition

, 2019


336 pages, 827 color and 127 b/w illustrations

20 x 28 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-856-0


The Bauhaus was distinguished neither by function nor by use but rather by symbolism. Whether square, triangle, or circle; whether Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s lamp, Oskar Schlemmer’s “Kopf” (head), or white cubes with flat roofs: the Bauhaus created iconic visual symbols and a style that is neither functional nor social but visually striking.

Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, from the outset sought to develop the school into a brand—and he succeeded. More than eight decades after its forced closure, the Bauhaus is more present than ever before in consumerism, politics, and culture alike. It has become a participative brand that escapes centralized control entirely. It has been, and continues to be, forged collectively by countless designers, manufacturers, and consumers. Yet its founders initial pledge for functionality and social commitment remains unfulfilled.

In this book, Philipp Oswalt, former director of Foundation Bauhaus Dessau, explores the development of the Bauhaus brand and its use around the world, illustrated with some 950 images that highlight the vast range of Bauhaus appearances from a century.


Philipp Oswalt is a professor of theory of architecture and design at Universität Kassel. He has been director of Foundation Bauhaus Dessau 2009–2014.


Deutsche Ausgabe

Authors & Editors

"The book wants to clean upto break with a constructed and canonized myth of Bauhaus, which is in stark contrast to what the institution had achieved in the 14 years of its existence. Author Philipp Oswalt has a grandiose knowledge of the subject. In addition, he can write excellently, getting his theses to the point, so that the reading can be enjoyed in one go." Bettina Maria Brosowsky, Bauwelt


"Oswalt's view is sober, his statements have been thoroughly researched and backed up with sources. And it's a nice book to look at, too." Stefan Möller, LEO Magazin


"With its release at the end of December 2019, this publication is something like the culmination of the series of anniversary books." Bern Hüttner, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung


"The book is a counterpoint to the often unreflected exaggeration of the Bauhaus in the previous year, in which the impression was often given that before the Bauhaus there was nothing and that everything that was built with a flat roof in the 1920s was 'Bauhaus'." Thomas Steinberg, Mitteldeutsche Zeitung


"A must for those interested in art, design and architecture!" Herbert Pardatscher-Bestle, Bücherrundschau

"Strong stuff for the awe-inspiring incense-wielding design community." Bettina Scheurer, ekz.bibliotheksservice

"The Jacobinic zeal for revelation of this displeased author would border on pure reading torture if the book had not been so thoroughly researched and factually coolly written. It provides the best enlightening research into the causes of the power of artistic bearers of hope who satisfy the hunger for promises of salvation. Michael Mönninger, Süddeutsche Zeitung

"Particularly pleasant when reading the exciting essays: The negation of an exceptionally art-historical and art-industrial consideration of the Bauhaus phenomenon". Reinhart Bünger, Der Tagesspiegel

"Ready to use and easy to read, this catalogue lies in your hand: well structured, interesting articles, conclusively illustrated, the footnotes where you find them." Martina Pfeifer Steiner,