to bauhaus or
not to bauhaus

Opening week at the
Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, UiB

Philipp von Hase
Møbeldesigner MNIL

21. August 2019


Bauhaus Manifesto

The ultimate goal of all art is the building! Architects, sculptors, painters we all must return to craftsmanship! For there is no such thing as “art by profession”. There is no essential difference between the artist and the artisan…

Let us strive for, conceive and create the new building of the future that will unite every discipline, architecture and sculpture and painting, and which will one day rise heavenwards from the million hands of craftsmen as a clear symbol of a new belief to come. Walter Gropius, April 1919

Good ideas in design will always require further development and adjustment to different and new contexts, which also counts for ideas that have been globally approved over a long period of time.


less is more

The Bauhaus ideals - making the highest possible quality accessible to many people – were based on the intimate interweaving of cultural awareness, social engagement, and economic returns.

For companies, this meant that production had to be organized as intelligently and inexpensively as possible, on the condition that ‘the highest possible quality’ was guaranteed.

Mies van der Rohe, modernist architect, born in Aachen in1886

Today, design companies are trapped in a rat race for the largest market share. In most industrial production processes the marketing and communication departments have taken the lead and the company’s competitive energy is focused completely on increasing sales. 

Have we lost sight of the higher ideals that were so central to the most influential movement by far in industrial design?


less is abore


Less is abore is a term coined by Robert Venturi, a major architectural figure in the twentieth century. It is associated with postmodern architecture and the return of ornate designs and expressive forms. Less is abore is a commentary on the minimalism and highly functional forms that have dominated architecture since the 1940s.

Robert Venturi, postmodernist architect, born in Philadelphia in 1925

A rule of thumb for postmondern architecture that embraces expressive form and ornamentation. It could be considered a continuation of the highly stylized and decorative designs of classical and early 20th century architectural movements such as Art Deco.


less and better

Naturally every generation is entitled to embrace the zeitgeist, to design something new. However, currently the appeal of the new is celebrated as the one and only. As such it no longer equals real innovation and might even be rephrased as ‘the illusion of the new’.

Dieter Rams - Industrial designer for Braun - functionalist - born1932

Good design entails research. Good design equals research. We owe it to the field to reflect on our own practices. Design requires a constant research of new idioms, a push of the limits, and the continual refinement of responses to fundamental questions such as ‘What can design add to the world of plenty ?


useless is more


JoeVelluto arrives at UseLess is More, a provocation/reflection on our lives always more surrounded by useless objects no longer needed. Industrial design produces useful objects in which utility is the guiding principle and where function determines their essence. On the contrary, Art produces “useless” things, from a functional point of view, but in which the meaning is to play the key-role.

Andrea Maragno aka JoeVelluto, a design and communication studio located in Vicenza

Designers who take themselves seriously strike an effective balance between their experimental, visionary projects and the compelling designs that are worth pursuing for manufacturers.


less linear more circular

Cradle to cradle is a holistyic approach to how we can mimic nature in the way we make and produce things. In nature everything exists, nothing gets lost, but everything gets transformed. Cradle to Cradle or regenerative design is a biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems that models human industry on nature's processes viewing materials as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms.

Michael Braungart, chemists and William McDonough, designer Co-authors of the Book Cradle 2 Cradle, remaking the way we make things, 2002

By addressing the ‘afterlife’ of every product, designers contribute to a change of mentality in both users and producers. An all-encompassing approach requires designers not to focus exclusively on the functionality and expressive power of a design, but also to investigate how maintenance and repair can be integrated into the final product. Designers should be aware of the circular economy they are embedded in.


less we can

The current economic and social paradigm is /was “faster, higher, further“. It is built on and stimulates competition between all humans. This causes acceleration, stress and exclusion. this kind of economy destroys the natural basis of life. Terms like ‘authenticity’ and ‘sustainability’ become empty verbiage when the hidden agenda is still, as usual, economic returns. Imagine a future where shared ideals and moral values point the way!

“degrowth“ is a form of society and economy which aims at the well-being of all and sustains the natural basis of life. To achieve degrowth, we need a fundamental transformation of our lives and an extensive cultural change.

Humanity has to understand itself as part of the planetary ecological system. Only this way, a self-determined life in dignity for all can be made possible. Therefor the common values of a degrowth society are care, solidarity and cooperation.


more or less

Nevertheless - it is up to us. The following examples are results of rich discussions and conversations that have dealt with the value of local production, visible networking and sharing of knowledge. During a one-week design-build-nothing workshop, where fifteen local designers were focusing on the question: What can design add in a world of plenty ?

The network app helps the importance of a local network in order to establish opportunities for local production and safeguard knowledge, as well as intangible and material cultural heritage. this in the future can lay the foundation for a more regional value creation and a more circular society in a world of abundance.



Interaction - Collaborate and transform knowledge through a local network of engagement and involvement to help raise awareness of social challenges.

Circular - In a society of abundance it will be necessary to develop a more circular society to maintain and secure the opportunities of our and future generations. The design of the future should generate local value chains with a focus on cyclical processes.

Visibility - We live in a time where craft techniques and skills are disappearing, which brings along an increasing disability to maintain essential knowledge and our cultural heritage and souverenity. Circular societies depend on local and national visibility and awerenss.

Touch - Design has its own ability to communicate beyond the verbal. In order to internalize experiences and to shape identity, values and attitudes. the emphasis should be on designing with the senses in focus.

Wabi Sabi - The material's natural qualities and appearance, including their irregularities,can contribute to increase the value and production both locally, regionally and nationally. As designers we have a responsibility towards material knowledge and management.

Consciousness - in order to help raise awareness, make knowledge and know how more easily accessible and comprehensible to all. Recognize and promote existing and new values in order to arouse curiosity and to create a space for reflection to ask questions and to shape, change or adapted to the future.


walk your talk

bridge between design, crafts and arts - material driven design research

practice of craft techniques to understand and master material properties and small scale production processes

reduction of form, material usage and labour intensity

design for disassembly, no glue involved, all parts exchange able…


thank you

Kmd - Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design, UiB

Aldea - center for contemporary art, design and technology

Nil - Norske interiørarkitekter og møbeldesigneres landsforening

Werkleben - Jouni Kuuva, Susanne Notøy, Lina Haveland, Camilla Figueroa, Imi Maufe, Kjetil Smedal, Kamilla Stokkevåg, Tora Rørvik, Jonas Evensen, Silje Tombre, Marthe Lægreid, Erling Revheim

NkD - Nordic Artists Center in Dale