The Didactic Home."
Back in the 1920s, the Bauhaus was already "modern" in its marketing - with the Gropius house acting as a "showhome" for parties of interested housewives as well as using the media of the day - exhibitions and magazines. And "new media" in the 1920s meant film: at the weekend we were shown a fascinating film made in 1926: Wie wohnen wir gesund and wirtschaftlich? (How can we live in a healthy and economically sensible way?)
The film is a documentary which promotes an appropriate way of living in the industrial age. Although from a sociological or anthropological point of view the film is far from modern - Ise Gropius gets to demonstrate the walk-in wardrobe while the maid gets to do the washing-up - the nature of the film reminded me of a modern-day infomercial.
The functionality of design is demonstrated, from a mixing-bowl fastener, to a high pressure hose as a precursor to the dishwasher, to a day bed that swiftly converts to a sofa, to living room chairs so light they can be blithely pushed round from one place to another, to the walk-in wardrobe with its solution to the age old problem of how to keep shoes neat and tidy.
It's a hymn to how freeing your home of unnecessary ballast can for make a better life - healthier, more spiritual, more economic.
The Bauhaus in Dessau had a short life - a matter of a few years. There's something shrine-like now about much of it - closed doors and relics behind glass rather than the "Living Machine" of the 1920s. But perhaps the spirit lives on in a certain Swedish Home Furnishings store.
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