Is IKEA Bauhaus?

by New Idiom

There is a provocative essay in the Design Observer today relating both to the Bauhaus, our predecessor institution, and to sustainability. I encourage ID folks to read it and participate in the comment thread.

David Barringer
Is There Bauhaus in IKEA?
Posted 08.27.09

….In the first half of the twentieth century, design reacted to industrialization, world wars, poverty, inflation, and class divisions. The Bauhaus arose out of a reaction to disastrous world politics and the inhumanity of urban living conditions, from the bullying architecture of the powerful to the class divisions perpetuated by luxuries only the rich could afford. By contrast, IKEA has evolved over time to refine a much narrower, and perhaps humbler, mission: to make home furnishings look good and cost less. The Bauhaus responded to the social urgencies after the First World War. What has succeeded the social inspiration of the Bauhaus is the business inspiration of retail giants like IKEA, which pursues a business model for the global marketplace.

Today, with the crash of world markets, design must more fully confront and re-evaluate its role in global business. This is what Bauhaus principles are all about: taking stock of the present states of technology, business and culture and crafting reasonable designs for the way we live now. A glut of cheap, uniform products in the marketplace can no longer be a virtue of global business. To pursue Bauhaus principles in the future, IKEA will have to increase the personalization of its products, improve ergonomics, reduce wastefulness and increase quality in order to create lasting value for the consumer….