In the year that the Bauhaus celebrates its centenary, there are commemorative exhibitions and events taking place around the world. The school founded by the architect Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany, in 1919, was in operation for just fourteen years before it was closed down by the National Socialist Party. Nonetheless, it is considered to be the most influential art and design school in history. Ironically, the closing of the school led to its influence disseminating widely. Its founding principle that there should be no distinction between form and function is common and widespread today but was revolutionary at the time.
We catch up with the Bauhaus alumni in mid-century Mexico, where the creativity of Clara Porset, Anni Albers and Cynthia Sargent, collided to create a design aesthetic that permeates every aspect of contemporary Mexican society. This aesthetic is rooted in an appreciation of materials, and a specific colour palette that originates in local flora and fauna, and is made up of indigo, cochineal and sea snail purple. Technical virtuosity has been inherited alongside a respect for the wisdom of the elders, as described in Eric Mindling’s charming story. These elements ricochet in the striking contemporary designs of Fernando Laposse and Casilda Mut.
I am grateful to Marcella Echavarria who co-edited the latest issue. Without her enthusiasm, knowledge and hard work, our insight into this incredible culture would not have been possible. I have learned much from Marcella’s passion for the music, food, culture and crafts of Mexico and I am delighted to share with you the intensity and energy of this extraordinary country.
Blog post by Polly Leonard.
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