The Bauhaus school in Dessau becomes a bus and embarks for a world tour.
A mobile building will travel between four global cities, aiming to “unlearn” the influential school’s Eurocentric attitudes.
Called Wohnmaschine, which means “living house”, the small-scale Bauhaus bus will travel between four cities in 2019, the school’s centenary year.
Designed by Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel, the 15-square-metre mobile building is created in the image of the iconic workshop wing of the Bauhaus school building in Dessau – a building conceived by founding director Walter Gropius and built in 1919, to embody the school’s core principles and values.
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It features the same gridded glass walls that wrap around the building, as well as the famous lettering down one side.
Inside is an apartment-like space, containing an area to host exhibitions and workshops, plus a reading room filled with books charting the Bauhaus’ history and legacy.
The project, called Spinning Triangles, begins in Dessau. From there the bus will travel to Berlin, where the Bauhaus-Archiv is located. Then it will land overseas to Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Hong Kong.
Over the 10-month tour, design collective Savvy Contemporary will host a series of symposiums and workshops that attempt to challenge and “unlearn” colonial attitudes towards modernity, to develop a more global interpretation of the school’s teachings.
“This school will not be developed by the geopolitical west, but through the accelerated movement between deeply interwoven places,” said Savvy Contemporary.
“Design has power. It creates our environments, our interactions, our being in the world,” added the organization. “For too long, practices and narratives from the global south have been kept at the periphery of the design discourse, been ignored altogether, or appropriated.”
Open to the public, the installation is beginning with four workshops in Dessau between 4 and 22 January, exploring the relationship between colonialism and modernity.
“We will face the relations of coloniality and design as well as its various visibilities and invisibilities,” explained Savvy Contemporary.
The Wohnmaschine will travel to Berlin between 24 and 27 January to coincide with the opening festival 100 Years Bauhaus, before making its way to Kinshasa for workshops between 4 and 12 April.
Here, actors from the field of design and from former colonies will play out the roles of various colonies. The goal is to discuss how everyday environments can be used to create a “collective future”. The intention is to develop an inclusive modernist manifesto, devoid of Eurocentric views.
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